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Food Vision for the Beef Sector

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D, today chaired the fifth meeting of the Food Vision high level implementation committee. The meeting included a presentation from the Chair of the Food Vision Beef and Sheep Group, Professor Thia Hennessy, Head of School, Head of the Department of Food Business and Development and Chair of Agri-Food Economics at Cork University Business School, and Environmental Research Institute Academic on its final report.

Minister McConalogue said:

“I want to thank the Food Vision Beef and Sheep Group, and its Chair Professor Thia Hennessy, for the intense effort that went into this report, which details direct and enabling measures needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the beef sector. Putting the beef sector on an even more sustainable footing is a key priority of mine and I believe we can build a more resilient sector for this and the coming generations of beef and sheep farmers.

“I understand that the measures listed have not been agreed by all members of the Group, which is understandable given that there are significant economic costs, particularly at farm level, attached to implementing some of these measures.

“However, it is key that first we have a pathway to reducing emissions and know what measures can contribute to that. This is what I asked Professor Hennessy to provide me with, and she has done an excellent, professional job in providing that and still reflecting the views and wider concerns of the Group. “

The Group includes representatives from farm organisations, the meat processing industry, academia, relevant State and other agencies, as well as the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The report sets out 21 recommendations which have been the subject of detailed discussions, including both direct impact measures, whose impact can be counted directly in the national agriculture emissions inventory, and enabling actions which, while outside the inventory, support and enable the adoption of the direct measures.

Chair Group, Professor Thia Hennessy commented:

“Despite the challenges of this process, members of the Group have engaged in constructive debate and demonstrated their commitment to the common goal of identifying measures which can reduce emissions from the beef sector while also protecting the viability of the farm families engaged in beef production. Stakeholders have expressed concerns about the economic impact of some of the measures and therefore some stakeholders do not support the report until there is a commitment for state funding.”

Minister McConalogue concluded:

“I thank the members of the Food Vision Beef and Sheep Group for the time and effort they have invested in this process, and I will study this report carefully before deciding on next steps.

“My ultimate aim is to futureproof our beef sector for the benefit of our industry, the environment and our farm families who are the backbone of the sector and rural communities.”

The Final Report is available here.

Other topics covered at the Food Vision High Level Implementation Committee included the Food Vision Environmental Working Sub-Group, the Teagasc National Farm Survey - 2021 Sustainability Report, the Changing Research Landscape, and planning for the National Conference on Women in Agriculture, which will take place on 1st February 2023.