“The next CAP has to strongly support direct payments for livestock farmers”. This was the clear message from IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods in Brussels this week.
Angus Woods said with the CAP 2020 proposals now being debated in the European Parliament, things were beginning to ‘rev-up on CAP’ in Brussels.
Mr Woods and members of the IFA National Livestock Committee from all over Ireland held three days of intense meetings and lobbying on behalf of beef and livestock farmers in Brussels this week.
The IFA representatives met with senior members of Commissioner Hogan’s cabinet, EU Commission officials from Trade, DG Agriculture, DG Sante and MEPs Mairead McGuinness, Sean Kelly, Matt Carthy and Marian Harkin.
Agriculture Commissioner Hogan must push for an increased CAP Budget that takes account of inflation. The European Parliament has endorsed this and Minister Creed and the Irish Government need to back this position strongly to protect farm incomes, according to Angus Woods.
“As a low-income sector, dependent on direct payments, convergence has seriously damaged incomes on livestock farms. This cannot be allowed continue in the Hogan reforms”.
Angus Woods rubbished claims made in the recent Court of Auditors report, saying they completely failed to understand the importance of direct payments to livestock farm incomes.
Angus Woods said there needs to be strong targeted direct payments of €200 for suckler cows, which he described as essential to the future of our quality €3bn beef and livestock sector.
The IFA Livestock leader said there was an utter contradiction between the EU CAP policy and the EU Trade policy on Mercosur. He said it was like mixing oil and water and it simply won’t work.