‘There cannot be a split in agriculture where one cohort of farmers farm exclusively for nature and another exclusively for food production’

There should not be a split in Irish agriculture where one cohort of farmers farms exclusively for nature and another exclusively for food production,” Minister for State Pippa Hackett told the Seanad in recent days.

he Green Minister said approximately two thirds of the land of Ireland is farmland and it was critical farmers play a central role in that all-of-society conversation on how we can reverse biodiversity loss.

The Minister also said it was vital that members of the public partaking in the Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity Loss hear from farming voices.

“The simple reality is if we are to turn the tide on the biodiversity crisis, we will only be able to do so with the help of our farmers, who need to be in the room contributing to the conversation on how best we can do that , she said.

However, Minster Hackett also said biodiversity does not recognise borders or field boundaries, land parcels or herd numbers.

“That is why it is essential to embrace farming practices that support biodiversity across the whole farm. A whole-farm approach should not confine biodiversity to a small strip or corner of a field.

“Nor should we do down the road of a split within agriculture whereby one cohort of farmers farms exclusively for nature and another exclusively for food production. They must go hand in hand. Adopting practices that allow biodiversity to flourish across our countryside, across all fields And on all farms, is the direction of travel we must take,” she said.

Minister Hackett also pointed to the benefits she has seen from organic farming on her own farm and said, “we know the benefits for biodiversity that go with organic farming”.

“We simply cannot afford a twin-track approach with only certain cohorts of farmers incentivized to farm for nature. If we are to tackle the biodiversity crisis, we will have to bring all farmers with us as we make the shift to an agricultural model that works for biodiversity instead of against it,” she said.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo