IFA President John Bryan said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must insist that his own Department gets its fair share of the revised reduction in the adjustment for next week’s Budget.
He said, “Following the announcement that €2.5bn rather than €3.1bn will be raised next week, this represents a 25% reduction in what the Government has to find. This leaves Minister Coveney in a strong position to initiate new investment in the sector. Farm schemes, including Disadvantaged Areas, agri-environment schemes and the Sheep Grassland Scheme, must be fully protected in the Budget”.
John Bryan said the new adjustment also gives the Minister the flexibility to deliver a more substantial suckler cow payment in the Budget as a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to the drystock sector.
The IFA President said the Minister must also ensure that agri-environment payments for farmers whose contracts finish at the end of the year are allowed a roll-over in 2014. It is unacceptable that farmers who have environmental designations and restrictions imposed on them would not have a scheme to compensate them for their losses next year.
On TAMS, there is a significant underspend and the Minister has to introduce immediately greater flexibility for applicants to draw down the funds before the scheme closes at the end of the year.
John Bryan said, “IFA analysis shows that farm schemes have taken the brunt of the Minister’s cuts in recent years. It is time for new investment in primary production, which underpins the jobs and exports in the sector”.