IFA President Tim Cullinan said farmers will protest at Minister McConalogue’s visits to Tullow Mart and Kilkenny Mart this afternoon over the failure of the main Govt parties to stop the destruction of farming by the Green Party.
“Farmers are furious that both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have rolled over on the CAP Strategic Plan and allowed the Greens to run riot with their ‘Alice in Wonderland’ version of rural Ireland, which will wipe out a cohort of our most committed farmers,” he said.
“Both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar cannot wash their hands of this. The Greens went into power with the objective of ‘nailing’ Irish farming as part of their anti-livestock agenda, but now they are destroying tillage and horticulture as well,” he said.
“Buried behind all the hype and big headline figures announced yesterday lie savage cuts to a cohort of farmers. This comes on top of farmers being hit with climate targets without any impact assessment of the consequences for individual farmers or rural Ireland,” he said
He said that the funding for suckler cows, ewes and the tillage sector was an insult to these farmers and sent a clear signal that the Government was not interested in farmers making a viable living from these sectors.
“Despite having flexibility under this CAP, the Minister has done nothing to help these farmers. His plan to allocate the maximum 25% of every farmer’s Basic Payment to so-called ‘Eco-schemes’ is bizarre, as the Minister himself fought to secure flexibility on this at EU level,” he said.
“Nothing exemplifies the charade of the ‘consultation tour’ than the Minister’s continuation with the roadshow after he has already announced the details of the Strategic Plan,” he said.
Tim Cullinan pointed out that over €2bn of the funding announced yesterday was EU funding, which had been announced previously, while €749 million was from carbon tax receipts, which was committed in the Programme for Government.
“For the Government to say they have increased co-funding for the CAP by 50% is ‘double-announcing‘, as this includes the Government’s long-promised carbon tax allocation,” he said.
“The irony is that the carbon tax income is generated by active farmers, who will have to bear the cost of increased fuel and energy costs as well as direct hits on their ability to farm their own land,” he said.
New Agri-Environment Scheme
Agri-Environment Scheme will not deliver €10,000 per farmer.
The scheme will also only support 50,000 farmers – not sufficient to meet likely demand.
The scheme proposes an average payment of €5,000 to 30,000 farmers with max
payment of €7,000.
The scheme proposes to provide the opportunity for farmers, identified by the Department
as having higher environmental priorities, to receive a payment of up to €10,000 with
average payment of €7,400.
The design of the scheme is likely to lead to a significant increase in leakage of funds to
Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme
Proposes payment rates of €150 for the first 10 cows and €120 per cow thereafter for 20,000 herds.
The proposed funding allocation will only pay 385,000 cows in 20,000 herds.
500,000 cows in over 30,000 suckler farms are left out of the proposed scheme
It equates to only €55 per suckler cow based on current suckler cow numbers.
No commitment has been given for the additional funding allocation to the Nationally
funded and separate Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme – Sucklers (BEEP-S)
scheme. Currently €40m/annum.
In the absence of the BEEP-S commitment, the new proposal represents a cut of 35% in
Suckler Cow funding or €28m a year.
The target for the Suckler cow scheme/s must be €300/cow.
Sheep Improvement Scheme
The proposed €20m/annum scheme with proposed payments of €12/ewe will only be available to 1.7m ewes, this is less than the numbers of ewes in the current Sheep Welfare Scheme.
Almost 1m ewe’s left behind in proposed new sheep scheme.
With over 2.6m ewes in the country the proposed funding for the scheme will only deliver
a payment of €7.70/ewe based on the most recent census figures.
The scheme must have a budget to deliver €30/ewe to all ewes in the country.
Tillage sector facing wipe-out
Tillage farmers have, on average the highest entitlement values per hectare. The proposed redistribution of payments via internal convergence, Eco Schemes and CRISS will decimate their basic payments.
The proposed Pillar II Straw Incorporation Measure delivers just €10m/annum – totally insufficient to cover the losses tillage farmers will incur on the basic payment.
Organic Funding risks creating significant market imbalance
The proposed funding of €256m to the organic sector represents a massive increase on current funding levels as based on 7.5% of Ireland’s land area being farmed organically.
Without proper support for increased market access, this funding may have a significant
unbalancing impact on the current organic market.
While funding for organic farming is welcome, it is difficult to understand the level of
funding allocated to this sector in the light of the lack of support for other vulnerable sectors such as Suckler cow (similar funding), Sheep (received 39% of funding given to organics) and Tillage (received 20% of funding given to organics).
Minister has failed to use his own flexibility to reduce cut for Eco Schemes
The new CAP agreement offered Member States the opportunity to reduce the cut from Pillar I to Eco Schemes from default level of 25%.
This is permitted where countries spending on agri-environment climate measures (AECMs) is above average.
Ireland has one of the highest levels of spending on AECMs in the EU offering the Minister the opportunity to reduce the Eco Scheme allocation
Instead, the Minister and his officials have shirked their responsibility to farmers on this and instead taken the easy route of cutting 25% off every farmer’s basic payment to fund so called “Eco Scheme”.
The proposed “Schemes” are not suitable for productive farmers and will cost farmers money in compliance costs.
Absence of Cattle Rearing and Finishing Scheme
Government have ignored IFA’s calls for a €100/animal payment for cattle rearing and finishing farmers in Pillar 2 schemes.
Cattle rearing and finishing farms are an integral part of the beef production systems in Ireland and most dependant on direct payments for Family Farm Income.
The proposed Strategic Plans must include a scheme that delivers €100/animal payment for farmers who rear and finish cattle.