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Diversification in Rural Ireland – event report

With many farms specialising, mixed farming in Ireland is now at only 3%. This compares to an EU average of 21%. Such specialisation has made Ireland vulnerable to global events as it relies heavily on feed and fertilizer imports for an export driven agri-food sector. Meanwhile, there has been a deterioration of ecosystems and a failure to reach climate targets. So what level of agri-food diversification is possible – and desirable – in Ireland? […]

Main stories

Just Transition in Ireland – Next Steps

What’s really involved in a genuinely just transition? Here we summarise the perspectives of wide range of actors from agriculture, energy, forestry and rural areas gathered to exchange views on the meaning and practical application of a just transition in a farming, food and rural context in Ireland. Event held in the WeCreate Centre in Cloughjordan ecovillage. With Matteo Metta and Oliver Moore. […]

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Rural Ireland on the Move – new report on Just Transition and Diversification launched.

This week ARC2020 and partner organisations release a report, and hold two events, on the topics of Just Transition and Diversification in Ireland. Targets to reduce emissions come alongside pressure for agriculture to improve its impact on biodiversity, water and air quality. Meanwhile rising feed, fertilizer and other input costs, and a sequence of recent crises – brexit, covid, and now the tragic war in Ukraine – compound the pressure. So what next for rural Ireland? […]

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Changes “required” to Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan – European Commission

Changes in the CAP strategic Plan submitted by Ireland are “required”. In the Observation Letter sent to Ireland – which you can download below – there are a number of areas the European Commission has called for changes in. The overall green architecture itself, including eco-schemes especially, needs work, if Ireland is to achieve its environmental targets. There is a distinct lack of ambition, scoring, and incentives for stronger environmental practices. Increasing dairy herd numbers is named directly as making the necessary changes more difficult. That the letter’s language is strident in places is noteworthy. So what is the Commission asking for? And what comes next? Oliver Moore reports.   […]

Latest from Brussels

Green Deal-ing – Mid February EU News Round

With the French Presidency of the EU, some specific areas have come to the fore for farming, food and rural Europe. Under a broad-if-wooly EU Green Deal framework, carbon farming, pesticides, geographical indications, and reciprocal standards (mirror clauses) for third countries have received added impetus in this six month presidency. Ashley Parsons takes us though some of these, and some other hot topics, in this mid month round up for us. […]

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New Report, Events to Examine Just Transition & Farm Diversification in Rural Ireland

A new report, co-funded by ARC2020 and the Centre for Co-operative Studies at University College Cork, and set to be published in early April, will aim to unpack just what a just transition will mean for Irish farms and rural communities. It comes ahead of two events taking place at Cloughjordan Ecovillage on 22 April, which will examine practical scenarios for a just transition, and farm diversification, in rural Ireland.  […]

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Letter From The Farm | Calving, Lambing – and Timing

We’re back on Shane Casey’s farm in Co. Clare, Ireland, where winter is an active period of herding livestock that are outwintered amidst the limestone pavements of The Burren. There’s decisions to be made about when to bring ewes inside to lamb, and cows home to calve. Considerations of animal welfare, economic viability, and conservation grazing are all factors in determining when the time is right. […]

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CAP, Fairness and the Merits of a Unique Beneficiary Code – Matteo Metta on Ireland’s Draft Plan

How has Ireland used the flexibility of the CAP legal framework post-2022 to design a fairer CAP Strategic Plan? A new policy analysis, researched and written by Matteo Metta for the Left group in the European Parliament (GUE), assesses fairness in Ireland’s CAP submission in a number of ways, while making a proposal for a way forward to assess CAP spending with more coherence – a unique beneficiary code for all CAP recipients. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Winterage In The Burren

We’re back on Shane Casey’s farm in the Burren, Ireland. It’s nearly time for the reverse transhumance drive – or ‘winterage’ as it’s known locally. Grazing over the winter allows the Burren’s unique mix of flora to thrive. It’s a quintessential example of farming for conservation, explains Shane. […]

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Slashing Space for Nature? Ireland Backsliding on CAP basics

Cutting space for nature on farms, from its own proposed level of 5% to just 4%, is the most brutal of adjustments mooted by the Department of  Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in one of the final CAP consultations last Thursday.  A list of five for the most part unambitious eco-schemes has also been announced, which will do little to move Irish agriculture towards a more environmentally sustainable place.  […]

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Ireland’s Our Rural Future – a rural digitisation gold standard? 

Broadband for all, even in the most remote regions; smart, revitalised villages and towns with hundreds of remote working hubs; a rural youth assembly, significant numbers of public and private workers for rural areas; Local Digital Strategies in administrative regions; and all done in a well-planned way to optimize synergies and transition towards carbon neutrality –  it sound like a sustainable rural digitalisation dream. So is it?  […]

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Letter From The Farm | Health, Husbandry & High Quality Meat

We’re back on Shane Casey’s farm in the Burren, Ireland. Here, with the harvest in full swing, lambs and weanlings are being sold. In an ideal world Shane would like his meat to be consumed locally. In reality, in rural areas like his, supply outstrips demand. Shane prides himself on the quality of his meat. Working backwards from butchery to husbandry to breeding, he shares some insights into the process.  […]

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Farm Specialisation or Diversification?

Here we publish a short extract on farm diversification from the recent Feeding Ourselves Policy Document. In this piece, Matteo Metta widens the focus of diversification, while also addressing some blind spots on data gaps and value adding. For more from Matteo and many others, download the full report in the article.  […]