IFA President Tim Cullinan said that the 2019 National Farm Survey by Teagasc shows the scale of the task facing the new Government.
“The modest increase of 2% was entirely down to lower costs, not to price improvements, and was on the back of a very difficult year in 2018 for farming. In reality, the 2019 average family farm income is down 24% on the 2017 average of €31,374,” he said.
The average farm income of €23,467 is well below the average industrial wage. Direct payments make up 77% of farm income.
“The average income on suckler farms was less than €10,000, for beef finishers it’s €13,893 with the sheep average being €14,604 and tillage incomes fell 15% to €34,437,” he said.
“Tackling the income disparity at farm level must be an absolute priority. The recent agri-food 2030 strategy consultation survey showed that lack of profitability/income was the main deterrent to young people getting involved in the sector, i.e. generational renewal,” he said.
“These figures are unsustainable and serious action is needed. The new Government needs to grab a hold of this. Farmers are not getting a fair price for their produce while their payments are reducing and they are facing increased costs, some of which are due to further requirements being enforced on farmers,” he said.
“The Government has to insist on a CAP budget to cover inflation and any extra requirements being asked of farmers. The proposed new food ombudsman has to bring full transparency to the entire chain,” he said.