A voluntary reduction scheme for the dairy herd is not on the cards for Irish farmers in order to meet the country’s climate targets, Minster for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.

“Removing the uncertainty created by any discussion around a dairy cow reduction scheme will provide clarity and confidence to farmers who have decisions to make on farm, be that investment or a succession strategy,” the minister told the Irish Farmers Journal.

There are a number of legal, financial and State aid complexities with implementing a scheme of this nature, the minister said in response to a parliamentary question from Niall Collins TD.

“For that reason, it is not at a stage where it can be easily advanced.


“Therefore, proceeding with such a scheme is not a priority for the moment and no Exchequer funding provision is currently in place,” he said.

This, he acknowledged, is despite a voluntary reduction scheme being a key recommendation of the Food Vision dairy group in achieving the 25% reduction.

Minister McConalogue explained how his priority right now is implementing the other measures in the Climate Action Plan which are more feasible.

“It is estimated that emissions from the agriculture sector reduced again in 2023 for the second year in a row, and so we are starting so see some positive momentum in our climate efforts for the sector,” he said.