IFA President Tim Cullinan said that it will not be practical for farmers to comply with Minister McConalogue’s letter sent to individual farmers yesterday advising them that they must reduce their nitrates derogation limit from 250kg to 220kg from January 1st.
“The timing of this letter when the EU Commissioner is coming to Ireland next week to discuss this very issue with the Taoiseach is unbelievable. However, the real issue is that it will not be practical for farmers to comply,” he said.
“The way this medium-term review was set up, with a decision to be made in September 2023, was always going to cause issues on farm. Farmers made their decision to put cows in calf last spring. To suggest that farmers can comply with this reduction without reducing stock is a fallacy. Farmers will now be forced to consider culling pregnant animals. This is wrong and the Minister, the Taoiseach and Commissioner Sinkevičius know this. They must address it when the Commissioner comes to Dublin to meet the Taoiseach next week,” he said.
The handling of this issue by the Minister for Agriculture has been deplorable.
“Firstly, the Minister agreed to a deeply flawed mid-term review of the Nitrates derogation. Then he made a half-hearted attempt to re-visit the issue with the Commissioner, waiving the white the flag on a Zoom call. Now he has sent out these letters before the Taoiseach meets the Commissioner. It will leave farmers feeling that they are just being used as pawns in a political game,” he said
“The Taoiseach has invited the Commissioner to Ireland next Thursday. We need the Taoiseach and the Minister working together to get a result for Irish farmers,” he said.