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Ireland | Beef Plan Movement Steps up Protest

On Wednesday the 10th of July an estimated 2,500 farmers took to the streets of Dublin to protest against the proposed Mercosur deal. The protest was organised by Beef Plan, a voluntary not for profit organisation set up in October 2018 by a small group of farmers from Meath (in Ireland’s centre-east). Since then, its membership has grown to over 20,000. So who are they and what do they want?  […]

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Ireland | Agriculture as part of a Just Transition

How can the agricultural sector in Ireland be part of a Just Transition to address inequality in the sector and tackle climate change? Agriculture is not only a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland, it is also the most unequal sector in the Irish economy in income terms. When it comes to climate change and agriculture, we need to change how we think about the challenge of reducing emissions. Farmers and their communities must play a central role in planning climate action to ensure it is good for farmers as well as the planet. […]

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UK | Farmland Tax Breaks Revealed

Recent publications have thrust the inequality of UK land ownership into the public eye. Lesser known is that landowners (and farmers) profit further from a series of, sometimes bizarre, tax breaks. Miles King summarises the findings of a report by People Need Nature into this tax system. […]

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Czech Republic | “No Forests, No Water, No Future” – Part II: Moving On from Monocultures

Drought, insect infestations, biofuels and monocultures are impacting Czech agriculture and the ability of the soil to do its jobs, from water storage to erosion prevention. In part one of this series we exposed this troubled ecology of soil, forests and water. Next, we look at how history, politics and policy have shaped the lie of the land. With Louise Kelleher in Prague. […]

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Czech Republic | “No Forests, No Water, No Future” – Part I: Bugs in the Ecosystem

Record droughts across Europe have been compounded in the Czech Republic by a plague of bark beetle that has jeopardized the nation’s forests. In a country where forestry and farming go hand in hand, every tree lost is a blow to the land, scuppering the soil’s capacity to store water and leaving it more vulnerable to erosion. To make matters worse, the vast fields of rapeseed that have become ubiquitous to Czech agriculture in recent years thanks to generous EU subsidies for biofuels have left the topsoil in a sorry state. […]

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Rural Dialogues | Landcare Germany – Bringing Farmers, Conservationists & Policymakers Together

How can farming organisations and environmental organisations have real conversations with each other – where everyone listens, and difficult issues grappled with respectfully? Where everyone comes away with a better understanding of other people’s positions? There are in-situ meetings, and then there is the Landcare process. Oliver Moore has more.
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Farm Diversification – Agroforestry and Agritourism in Ireland

What future strategies exist for livestock farmers in Ireland? Beef farmers are struggling, and fighting over a EU/Irish government handout of E100 million due to clauses attached. A small number have opted for a different, more diversified route. Read about Jane Shackleton’s organic farm with Galloway cattle, sheep and an agri-tourism enterprise in the lakelands of Ireland.  […]

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The Challenge of Making UK Ruminant Production Sustainable

Ruminant livestock farmers have the unique potential to manage the British countryside to deliver a number of public goods, alongside profitably producing environmentally-sustainable premium-quality meat. The potential ‘prize’ is a carbon-neutral UK ruminant livestock sector, as part of a rural landscape that delivers a number of publicly-desired ecosystem services. […]

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Part 2: Where now for Por Otra PAC?

Yesterday, Marta Zygadlo introduced us to Spanish coalition Por Otra PAC. Today we take a look at the coalitions’ priorities and how it plans to push food sovereignty and agroecological transition in Spain. What would an EU agrifood system based on the principles of solidarity, equity and democracy look like? […]