The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Pat McCormack has warned that any attempts to cull the dairy herd must be voluntary.
Mr McCormack told Newstalk Breakfast that “if there is to be a scheme, it needs to be a voluntary scheme. That’s absolutely critical because there’s no point in culling numbers from an individual who has borrowed on the back of a huge financial commitment on the back of achieving a certain target that’s taken from under him.
“We should be investing in an infrastructure that can deliver from a scientific perspective. And we know low emissions are better and we should be continuing to invest in further science and research because that’s absolutely critical as we move forward.
“This isn’t a start. This isn’t the end. This is an environmental journey and agriculture can play a significant role there.”
Farmers are willing to do their part from an environmental impact perspective, but it was important to acknowledge that the current dairy herd was at the same level as it was 30 years ago, said Mr McCormack.
Numbers had fallen due to quotas over 10 years ago, but had risen again in the past number of years
Mr McCormack said that if a cull was to be introduced, and it was voluntary then some farmers would refuse while others would exit the dairy sector. Equally, there were farmers in other sectors who would also like the opportunity to reduce or to exit, and that opportunity was not being afforded to them which was “a huge disappointment”.