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Ireland | Intensive Farms Must Pull their Weight for a Just Transition

Not all agri-sectors have the same impact. As the debate in Ireland over greenhouse gas emissions cuts for economic sectors intensifies, who is thinking about the fair share within sectors? Here we republish an article from Rural Ireland on the Move, our report from April this year. In it, Fintan Kelly  – agriculture and land use policy and advocacy officer with the Irish Environmental Network – examines the idea of a fair share on emissions within agriculture.  […]

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Part 3 | Ireland, Food Security & Feed(ing the World) – Is Ireland Feeding Food?

A common criticism of ‘animal agriculture’ is that it uses human-grade food as a feedstock. It is also heard in Ireland, a country with a significant livestock population by European standards.  To what extent is it true that animal agriculture uses human-grade food? Stuart Meikle with part 3 of his series on Ireland, Food Security and Feeding the World. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Watching, Waiting and Knowing When To Help

We’re back on Shane Casey’s farm in The Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland, where he has another busy spring of lambing and calving behind him. There’s only so much you can do to prepare – after that, it’s a question of watching carefully for the telltale signs in the ewes and cows. Shane’s father was an early adopter of livestream technology that makes the night watch a little easier. But successful lambing and calving depends on the farmer’s expertise as well as patience. Knowing if and when to intervene, whether to call the vet, and how to help the newborns find their feet.  […]

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Part 2 | Ireland, Food Security & Feed(ing the World) – Ireland and the Archipelago

Part two of four from Stuart Meikle on Ireland, food security and feed(ing) the world delves into the relationship Britain and Ireland have with each other  – the two main islands of the archipelago referred to in the article’s title. Part one (see below) focused on Ireland, food security and nitrogen supply. Here, trade, animal feed, meats, durable forms of diary all feature.   […]

Main stories

Ireland, Food Security & Feed(ing the World) – part 1

In these challenging times ‘food security’ has returned to the agenda in what was assumed to be the well-fed countries of the World. That includes in Ireland, even though it is ranked first in the Economist’s Global Food Security Index. To inform this debate ARC2020 will present an article series  – an extended op-ed – from Stuart Meikle.   […]

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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.   […]

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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. […]