Addressing the Tillage Forum in Dublin this afternoon, IFA President Joe Healy set out an Action Plan for the survival of the Tillage Sector.
Joe Healy said, “Many farmers in these areas are at their wits’ end, not having experienced conditions like this since the mid-1980s. It is critical that a financial rescue package is secured and put in place for these farmers, as a matter of urgency, given the dire financial straits they find themselves in through no fault of their own”.
The IFA President said, “For the sector at large, it is vitally important that we collectively devise an action plan to address the serious and deepening income crisis in the Irish tillage farming sector”.
Tillage farmers are facing an income collapse this season of up to €100m, due to a combination of factors:
- Grain production will be down between 500,000t & 600,000t on last harvest.
- Oilseed and protein crop yields are much reduced.
- Falling Greening/Basic Payments through convergence are reducing the direct payment.
- High input and working capital costs are aggravating this already serious income situation.
IFA Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said the stark reality is that the financial risk that farmers are carrying is becoming totally disproportionate to the possible gains.
Action Plan for Survival of Tillage Sector
Without political intervention on a number of fronts, Ireland’s tillage sector is in imminent danger of collapse, with major implications for the entire livestock sector and our world-renowned drinks industry.
Implementation of the following action plan is critical to the survival of a central element of our farming system:
- Introduction of a specific financial rescue package for the tillage sector;
- A derogation for Ireland on greening requirements, given our difficult climatic conditions;
- Access to competitively priced credit to help the sustainability of all farmers including those under cash flow pressure;
- Full support from all industry stakeholders for the use of native Irish grain;
a. Mandatory Department inspection and screening of grain imports to exclude economically damaging weed seeds such as blackgrass and sterile brome.
b. Establishment of a certification scheme to maximise the use of native grain and proteins in Irish livestock rations.
c. Increased use of native grain and Irish malt in the production of Irish whiskies and artisan/craft beers to grow our malting barley sector.
- Action by the EU to lower input costs
a. Abolition of tariffs and anti-dumping duties on fertiliser imports.
b. Review by DG Competition of the cost of plant protection products.
- Stronger tillage sector support under Farm Schemes
o Increased GLAS payments.
o Immediate roll out of the TAMS investment programme.
o Increased funding to allow for the expansion of the protein crop area eligible to receive the full coupled payment