IFA President Tim Cullinan has reacted with dismay to the statement from the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue that the European Commission has refused to revisit the terms of the interim review process of the Nitrates derogation.
“This has massive ramifications for Irish farmers if it is allowed to transpire. Dairy farmers are going to take a direct hit on income. But in reality, it will have knock-on repercussions for all sectors due to the massive disruption to the land market the decision will bring about,” he said.
“Have no doubt about it, this is an absolute failure on behalf of both the Minister and the Department of Agriculture. As soon as they agreed to the flawed interim review process, without consulting anyone, they backed themselves into a corner that they have so far failed to get out of.”
IFA put forward alternative proposals for a reduction to 220kgs organic nitrogen limit, which have effectively been ignored. Instead, the blunt instrument of reduction in stocking rates is being implemented without any scientific evidence that it will improve water quality. “Given how serious this issue is, we need an intervention from the Taoiseach with the European Commission. This change will do very significant damage to the incomes of derogation farmers and will have knock-on consequences for all farmers in the land market,” he concluded