Speaking from the Teagasc National Dairy Conference in Cork, IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Kevin Kiersey today (Tues) said contributions from many of the speakers today had confirmed his strong view that dairy farmers will have to prioritise their resources for on-farm investment in the context of expansion.
Mr Kiersey urged financial institutions to co-operate constructively at keen costs with farmers and Government, only a few weeks away from the announcement of the 2012 Budget, to provide expansion friendly fiscal policies between now and 2015, and beyond.
“Irish dairy farmers are enthusiastic about engaging in dairy expansion after 2015, insofar as there are real global market opportunities which can be capitalised on profitably,” Mr Kiersey said.
“However, while there has been much talk about the investment and working capital requirements of the processing industry, the fact is that by far the greatest investment which will be required to deliver expansion will be on farms. Delivering 50% more milk by 2020 could cost farmers up to €1 billion,” he added.
“It is therefore crucial that the processing industry would respect the need for farmers to prioritise their resources for on-farm investment, and would plan their financial requirements accordingly,” he said.
“It is also vital that financial institutions would work closely together with farmers in supporting their plans, and would make available keenly-priced finance to help expanding farmers stay competitive,” he said.
“Lastly, as they finalise the 2012 Budget, Government must provide fiscal conditions for farmers which will allow them deliver on the <i>Food Harvest 2020</i> 50% expansion target and the uplift in export earnings for the greater good of the Irish economy.”
Farmers will only be able to deliver on this if they can continue to have access to fully funded schemes, if the tax reliefs currently available are retained, and if imaginative and expansion-friendly fiscal policies are pursued in the longer term,” he concluded.