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A soils-first food and farming policy

Food production must account for climate-change and GHG’s, provide good nutrition, ever-improve animal welfare, minimize pollution, enhance biodiversity, reward farmers and rural communities, and, too rarely mentioned, restore and maintain soil health and fertility. But it is only through the latter that we can link everything else together to create a truly sustainable food system.

If there is a universal panacea for our food systems, it lies within the way we now go about restoring the health and productivity of our soils. By saying such one could however be guilty, as is often the case, of allowing a single issue to dominate, whereas identifying a sustainable food system, differing as they must region by region, is a complex process that requires the joining of numerous dots across a broad canvas. Focus on one issue alone and consequences happen elsewhere. Nonetheless, as one looks at soil regeneration, the solutions for many of our other problems emerge.

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A soils-focused food and farming policy

The paper was first published on the http://www.ARC2020.eu website.

 

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Does the European Union need more milk?

The following article was published by ARC2020 in March 2018

If one lives in Ireland and commentates on agriculture, a day does not pass without reading about the expansion of Irish dairying. Since the end of the milk quota regime, production growth has been rapid. One would have expected the low prices of 2015 and 2016 to have cooled the ardour, but apparently not. Add in that the Commission had to intervention stockpile milk powder and that much of Irish expansion milk has been dried, one would have expected market signals to have dulled enthusiasm. But no, we hear talk of moving onwards to 10 billion litres very soon. After all, the World population will grow and Africa or China or somebody will buy Irish dairy produce.

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Milking the Farmer – from Ireland to Romania

The following article was published by ARC2020 in February 2018

During the first decade of this Millennium I spent much time planning and analysing integrated milk production and processing investments. Faced with the twin demands of investors and EU grant applications, the models developed were highly complex. As I was working in Romania, they had to be bilingual. More recently, living in Ireland, I have been appraising Irish dairy farming. This has given me an interesting insight into two dairy industries in very different climates and at different stages of development; be it farming, processing or marketing wise. Surprisingly there is the odd similarity.

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