IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe said last night’s IFA farmer meeting on nitrates made it abundantly clear that farmers are furious with Department of Agriculture proposals for the next Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) and its management of the review process.
“IFA will not allow farmers livelihoods to be put at risk because the Department has mismanaged the review process, which has resulted in a five-month delay in the consultation process. This is too important an issue for Irish farmers,” said the IFA Deputy President.
Compliance with existing regulations must be met before additional blanket regulations are imposed on farmers whose incomes are already under threat with the proposed reduction in CAP payments.
“Failure by Department officials to ensure compliance has meant that all farmers are now being asked to adhere to over the top regulations,” he said.
“The cost of implementing proposals relating to additional slurry storage and soiled water storage will be in the region of €30,000-€50,000 for an average dairy farmer,” said IFA Dairy Chair Stephen Arthur.
“The real insult here is that many of these measures will do little to improve water quality. The proposals are flawed.”
IFA Environment Chair Paul O’Brien said that the Department is trying to shoe-horn in conditions that extend beyond the remit of the Nitrates regulation itself.
“By including measures such as the compulsory use of low-emission slurry spreading equipment, the Government is trying to renege on its responsibility to support farmers in the low carbon transition. Measures that are included under the Nitrates regulation are not eligible for grant aid,” said Paul O’Brien.
“We are encouraging all farmers to engage with the consultation process. We cannot let the Department away with bringing in such outrageous regulations,” concluded Brian Rushe.