Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Common Agricultural Policy and Young Farmers: Engagement with Macra na Feirme

Mr. Shane Fitzgerald:

The feedback so far, as Mr. Keane mentioned, is that the Department has not been too keen on sector-specific eco-schemes, in particular the milk recording proposal. That is the main reason that has been used. Some of the reasons used for some of the other proposed eco-scheme options not being taken on board is that they are not as easily inspected or monitored and the administration burden on the Department can be a bit high. That seems to be the main reason to go against some eco-schemes. The Department seems to be looking for simple schemes that could be monitored easily. A lot of them seem to be around land use as well, so that is the reason it is going for such options as the planting of trees, extensive livestock production and fertilisers. It is not just us, everyone has pushed for milk recording. Faecal sampling has been mentioned previously and it was included in Ag Climatise to push the antimicrobial side of things. The Department is probably looking at it from the environmental side and we are trying to come at it from a different perspective as regards antimicrobial resistance. It does not seem to be something the Department is too happy with at the moment. Young farmers want to try to encourage more efficient measures to support and facilitate more progressive young farmers. The likes of these measures are more efficient and avoid wastage but the Department is probably worried about how it would monitor these type of arrangements. That is where some of these proposals could fall down. Mr. Keane might want to come in on that point as well.