IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Doran said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must guarantee that livestock farm incomes are not targeted in the forthcoming budget. Michael Doran said it is Minister Coveney’s responsibility to ensure that all of the direct payment schemes which make up over 100% of net farm income on drystock farms are fully protected.
The IFA livestock leader said there are ambitious targets set out for livestock in the Food Harvest 2020 plan and these can only be achieved if the income at farm level improves. He said “Any move to target Disadvantaged Areas payments, REPS4, AEOS or the Suckler cow Welfare scheme in any way will hit farm income”.
Michael Doran said there are over 100,000 livestock farmers and the sector makes a major economic and social contribution in every single parish across the country. In addition, he said Ireland is in the top 5 of the world’s beef exporters with 500,000t valued at €1.75bn.
Michael Doran said the 1m head Irish suckler cow herd is the key to maintaining Irish beef exports in the high price retail outlets across Europe and the UK. “The Minister must be absolutely clear that the direct supports to this sector through Disadvantaged Areas payments, REPS4, AEOS and Suckler Cow Welfare scheme are fully protected.”