Speaking at the IFA lobbying session with politicians in Dublin this week, IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said there can be no further delays agreeing Ireland’s Rural Development Plan in Brussels and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney must insist that the Suckler Beef Genomics scheme and GLAS is passed and opened to farmers for application without any further delays.
Henry Burns said a strong RDP is essential for the low income livestock sector. “Livestock farmers are very reliant on farm schemes and opening applications to the Suckler Beef Genomic scheme and GLAS is essential to farm incomes.”
Henry Burns said in order to maintain our valuable suckler cow herd, IFA believes that there is a need to increase and target direct payments towards the sector. “The introduction of the Beef Genomic scheme of €100 on the first 10 cows and €80 on the remainder is a very positive development. However, IFA believes that a direct payment in the order of €200/cow will be required to stabilise and maintain the suckler herd.”
IFA is proposing to increase the number of livestock farmers participating in the New Knowledge Transfer (BTAP) programme from 5,000 to 15,000, to increase the level of payments and to simplify the scheme with more direct one to one advice between the advisor and the farmer. Henry Burns said the issues on how the payments are made to the farmer and the advisor as well as the need for separate programmes for cattle and sheep farmers must be resolved by Minister Coveney.
In addition, the IFA Livestock Leader said the restoration of funding for the Areas of Natural Constraint (Disadvantage Areas) and access for livestock farmers to the GLAS is critically important to support incomes for beef producers. An improved and enhanced TAMS is also essential for investment in the beef sector.
Henry Burns said, “The plan has now been with the EU Commission for well over six months and Ireland’s plan has not yet been approved. Already some countries have had their plans approved and are implementing their schemes. The urgent implementation of the farm schemes was never more pressing given the difficult income position of many farmers”.