Pippa Hackett speaking in the Seanad last week.

WATCH: Hackett says 'system change is essential' for farming's future

Offaly Minister of State Pippa Hackett has said that Irish agriculture must embrace "system change" because "tinkering around the edges" will not be sufficient to address the climate and biodiversity challenges ahead.

She also said there was a lot of "nonsense" and "scaremongering" in the current debate about these issues and that it needed to be "called out".

The Green Party representative was speaking during a Seanad debate on Tuesday last, May 30.

She opened her contribution by saying: "I heard an interesting phrase at our church service in Geashill on Sunday morning, namely, 'to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often'.

"Who does not aspire to be perfect? The climate and biodiversity crises have plunged us into a significant time of change for every aspect of our lives," she said.

Irish agriculture, she stated, "has a massive challenge ahead, and while we are making progress in many ways, we still have some way to go.

"Productive farming of the future will be about more than just food production. It will require that food be produced in a way that improves water quality, restores biodiversity, cleans our air and reduces our emissions.

"Embracing system change is essential, because tinkering around the edges will not suffice.

"Indeed, how we use and manage our land has been subject to much debate, and this has certainly heated up in recent weeks with increased focus on the EU's nature restoration law.

"While the law itself is nowhere near complete and more work is needed on data and perhaps on how the emissions factors will be arrived at, it has, sadly, reopened the old fault lines of environmentalists versus farmers, with both camps back in their well-worn trenches and meaningful progress stalled yet again."

She went on to say that doing nothing was "not an option" but that "some would be quite content" to do just that.

"We know we are in trouble when mainstream farming publications see going organic as a threat, when farm organisations turn a blind eye to environmental destruction or when parliamentary parties take advice to scare consumers and farmers that being environmentally responsible will drive up the price of food and land.

"This sort of nonsense needs to be called out. We need less of the divisive exaggeration and scaremongering, and much more of a solutions-focused approach, examples of which we have throughout the country," she concluded.

You can watch Minister Hackett's speech here: