Major Opportunity for Minister Coveney to Deliver for Suckler and Sheep Farmers – IFA

IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Henry Burns said decision time has arrived for the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and he now has a major opportunity to introduce a strong targeted payment for sucklers cows as part of the CAP implementation under Pillar 1 and Pillar 2.

He said “This is Ministers Coveney real chance to deliver on his commitment to the beef sector and put in place a strong suckler payment that will enable the beef sector deliver on the potential of exports and jobs under Food Harvest 2020.”

Henry Burns said Minister Coveney made real progress with the €60 per cow genomic scheme in the October Budget and this will come into force in 2014. “However, the big decision now is for the Minister to deliver a strong and worthwhile suckler payment that will sustain the beef cow herd from 2015.”

Henry Burns said IFA has led a very strong campaign for a targeted suckler cow payment right throughout the CAP Reform debate. He said in previous CAP Reforms suckler cows were supported with payments in the order of €225 per cow plus extensification payments.

The IFA Livestock leader said suckler farm incomes have been hit very hard over recent years with Government cuts to the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme, Disadvantage Areas and REPS. He said “Minister Coveney has a real opportunity to address this low income problem in a targeted and effective fashion with a strong suckler payment and he must deliver.”

IFA National Sheep Chairman James Murphy has also called on Minister Coveney to target a strong sheep payment as part of the CAP implementation in the next week. He said it is positive that the sheep grassland payment is in place for 2014. However from 2015, when the new CAP comes into force, a new strong targeted CAP payment for sheep is essential to protect the national ewe flock. James Murphy said Disadvantage Area and Environmental scheme payments are also essential for the low income sheep sector.

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