National Council Reports July 2020

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National Council Reports July 2020

Market Report

  • Latest Beef price update. 02/07/2020. Steer base €3.60/kg. Heifers €3.60/3.70. Young Bulls R/U €3.60/3.65kg. Cows €2.80/3.30/kg.
  • Supplies. 37,329 cattle slaughtered week ended June 28, of which steers were 13,670, heifers 10,869, young bulls 2,907 and cows 9,163. Total YTD slaughter is 869,021 compared to 903,826 in 2019.
  • Official Prices. Irish R3 steer prices for w/e June 21st. was €3.81/kg incl vat. Heifers R3 €3.85/kg. Y Bulls O/R/U €3.45/€3.66/€3.81/kg. Cows P/O/R €2.75/2.87/€3.09/kg.
  • UK cattle prices. AHBD report that UK cattle prices continue to rise strongly up another 2.3p/kg for week ended June 20th.  The UK steer price is at £3.68/kg, equivalent to €4.29/kg incl vat.

  • Official cattle prices reported to the EU Commission on June 21st. R3 Young Bulls c/kg excl vat; EU Average €3.50/kg, Germany €3.55/kg, France €3.65/kg, Spain €3.46/kg, Austria €3.48/kg Italy €3.90/kg Poland €2.84/kg. Steer Prices; Ireland €3.62/kg, UK €4.06/kg. EU Cow price €2.75/kg +2.17c/kg. Heifers €3.65/kg +1.64c/kg.
  • Live Exports. 5,634 cattle were exported in the week commencing 15/6/2020, 3,543 to EU (Except NI). Live exports for 2020 amount to 174,721 compared to 224,472 in 2019.
  • In a positive move on live exports, the Turkish Ministry has recently announced that the live imports of weanling cattle are set to resume in the coming weeks.
  • Keep up to date on all IFA work and prices on ifa.ie/covid19.
  • EU Meat Market Observatory. IFA participated in the EU Commission Meat Market Observatory meeting in Brussels this week, where the Commission said the beef market is recovering slowly from Covid and prices are rising in most member states. EU exports are down 8% for the Jan-Arp period but imports are down 22%. IFA highlighted the major inadequacies in beef market supports in the CAP policy for a crisis like Covid and the ongoing uncertainties from Brexit. In a discussion on Farm to Fork, IFA highlighted the importance of a profitable and sustainable beef sector for rural areas and communities, land use and integration with other sectors like dairy.

10 Reasons Why Cattle Prices Should Rise.

IFA has set out 10 market facts on why cattle prices should rise.

  1. Prices in our main export market in the UK have increased by 44c/kg since April 25th, while Irish prices have only risen by 22c/kg.
  2. AHBD report that UK steer price is at £3.68/kg, equivalent to €4.29/kg incl vat. and continuing to rise, up another 2.3p/kg for the latest reported week ended June 20th.  This is 48c/kg above the Irish price, which amounts to a price differential of €173 on an average steer.
  3. Cattle price across the main EU markets are also recovering with retail sales      continue to show very strong growth and food service coming back as the Covid restrictions are eased.
  4. The Bord Bia prime export benchmark price has moved ahead of the Irish price over the last 2 weeks, showing the improvement in market returns.
  5. Factories agents and procurement managers are very active buying finished cattle in the marts and on line, paying prices that are significantly above their quoted prices.
  6. Northern Ireland factories are very active in the South, paying prices from 10 to 20c/kg above Irish prices.
  7. The R3 steer price in Northern Ireland was £3.61/kg, which is equivalent to €4.20/kg.
  8. The Northern Ireland LMC report that 785 cattle were exported live from the Republic to Northern Ireland for slaughter in the week to June 20.
  9. Department of Agriculture AIMs data on future cattle supplies shows that on May 1st there was a reduction of 83,000 in the number of beef cattle in the 12-24-month category and 10,000 in the 24-36 month category compared to 2019, meaning that supplies over the next number of months will remain much tighter than 2019 levels.
  10. Retail consumption figures for Ireland continue to show very strong growth on beef sales, up 17.4% for the last 12 weeks to May 17th., compared to 2019 levels. In the UK, retail data shows beef volume sales up 22.4% and value sales up 23.1%, for the 12-week period to May 17th compared to 2019, with stake sales up 24% and mince up 36%.

Beef Taskforce

  • IFA attended a Beef Taskforce meeting last week and called on the processors to increase prices in line with increased market returns.
  • IFA pointed out cattle prices in our main export market in the UK have increased by 40c/kg since April 25th, while Irish prices have only risen by 22c/kg.
  • IFA questioned consultants Grant Thornton on the investigation into the supply chain and insisted that the Minister must tell the beef factories and the retailers to co-operate fully and provide all the required price and margin information for this important investigation.
  • IFA also raised issues on the Bord Bia Grass fed and PGI proposals around the lack of proper consultation with farmers and the need for more engagement. The Chairman requested Bord Bia to re-engage and consult more with stakeholders to try and get broader agreement before proceeding.

BEEP-S

  • Just over 27,000 farmers applied for the BEEP-S scheme, following an intensive campaign by IFA. It is estimated that some c600,000 cows are involved, which will require funding of c€52m as opposed to the €35m allocated, if a linear cut to the payment rates of €90 per cow on the first 10 and €80 on the remainder are to be avoided.

 €50m for Beef Finishers

  • Following a comprehensive assessment of the beef price losses incurred by finishers and detailed submissions to the Department of Agriculture and the EU Commission backed by an intensive lobbying campaign IFA secured Government funding of €50m for beef finishers.
  • IFA has met with the DAFM on how this funding should be allocated and made the following points in a detailed submission.
  1. The scheme must be for cattle finishers and payment targeted at finishers who incurred the most financial losses.
  2. All finished cattle should be covered in the scheme including steers, heifers, young bulls and cows, with the exception of cows with conformation score P and fat score 1 and calves. The Minister has made it clear factory owned and dealer owned cattle will not be covered.
  3. The payment rate must be a minimum of €100 per finished animal.
  4. Payments should apply to finished animals retrospectively from the announcement date by the Minister in order to prevent factories using the support in an anticompetitive way to manipulate prices on cattle going forward.
  5. There should be no restrictive limit on the number of eligible animals per farm which qualify.
  6. The terms and conditions of the scheme must be simple and farmer friendly.
  7. There can be no conditionality attached to the scheme.
  8. The full funding of €50m must be utilised and paid out under the scheme. The terms and conditions must be structured a way to ensure the total funding amount of €50million is paid out to farmers and none of the funds are left unused.
  9. The application process should be simple and opened for farmers to apply immediately.
  10. Payment should be made to all eligible applicants on or before the end of August, so as to ease the severe financial difficulties on finishing farms and also assist the weanling and store cattle trade in the second half of the year.
  11. The payment should apply to all finished cattle sold in the marts, provided those cattle were slaughtered within 30 days of purchase. The payment should go to the farmer who sold the animal regardless of who purchased the animals in the mart.
  12. The payment should apply to finished cattle exported live to Northern Ireland.
  13. The payment should apply to finished cattle exported live to international markets.
  14. It should be structured in such a way under EU state aids approval under the COVID-19 Temporary State Aid Framework so as to ensure all cattle finishers that apply get paid on all eligible cattle.
  15. The scheme should positively accommodate farm partnerships and not in any way discriminate against individual farmer members in partnerships.
  16. IFA is available for further consultation with the Department of Agriculture on the scheme.

Bord Bia Grass Fed Beef Standard and PGI status

  • IFA has met with Tara McCarthy and the Bord Bia team to try and sort out some of the issues around the Grass-fed proposal and PGI status.
  • IFA made it very clear that there needs to be more consultation with farmers and much more clarity around many aspects of the proposals.
  • On Grass fed, young bulls have to be treated the same as any other category of animals and measured against the same criteria. Making young bulls ineligible before they are even accessed against the criteria is not right.
  • IFA also sought clarification on a number of other aspects of the Grass-fed proposals including the ‘exclusion’ of the first 9 months of the animal’s life.
  • The PGI proposals need a more fundamental rethink. There are key issues around ownership and guarantees that price premiums will be paid back to farmers that have to be sorted out.

Activity since last Council

  • IFA National Livestock Management Meeting June 16th.
  • National Livestock Meeting June 18th.
  • Meetings with DAFM on €50m Beef Finisher Scheme.
  • Meeting with Bord Bia on Grass fed and PGI status.
  • Intensive IFA lobby of all politicians on the €50m Beef Finishers Scheme.

 EU/COPA Developments

  • Meat Market Observatory Meeting with EU Commission.
  • Conference call/meetings with EU DG Agri, COPA Beef Group, FNB – French beef farmers and Polish, Belgium, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese beef farmers.

BovINE Project.

  • IFA is involved with Teagasc, other EU farm organisations and research and advisory bodies across 10 EU member states in an EU funded Innovation network project focused on facilitating improved knowledge exchange and co-ordinated solutions on socio-economic resilience, animal health and welfare, production efficiency and quality and environmentally sustainability.

 Upcoming Issues/priorities

  • Campaign for a cattle price increase.
  • Allocation and terms and conditions for the €50m Beef Finishers Scheme
  • EU Beef and Sheep Update. Weekly update on email, for distribution to IFA what’s app and web on beef and sheep issues and action.
  • Budget 2021 submission and supports for beef farmers and sucklers.
Chairman Brendan Golden
Director of Livestock Kevin Kinsella

Market Report and Milk Prices

  •  The most recent IFA Dairy Market Blog is available here for greater detail.
  • Global milk supply growth slowed dramatically in April.Weather events, low prices linked to COVID19 market impacts and production reduction initiatives (France, the US) contributed to this.  Early indications are for a return to normal rainfall in a number of regions heretofore affected by moisture deficit – though for some regions fodder supplies for the year will be negatively affected.
  • 30th June was the end date for APS. As of 28th June, 17730 t of SMP went into the scheme (none from Ireland).  60185t of butter (12604t from Ireland) and 45634t of cheese were applied for, with 100% of Ireland’s allocation received in the first 3 days (2180t).  Disappointingly, only 45% of the total EU available tonnage was used, largely because of the inadequacy of the national allocations.  It is believed over 25% of fresh butter production in the period utilised the scheme – so it would be wrong to suggest it did not play a part in helping with price recovery.  APS may be needed again in the context of Brexit!
  • Dairy commodity prices as reported to the EU MMO by EU member states have been increasing progressively from a trough of around mid-April, depending on products.
  • In the most recent weeks, we have seen some stabilisation of those increases, but no real easing, as is visible from the graph on the right.
  • Spot quotes are also continuing to firm, albeit slightly more modestly than in recent weeks.
  • All commentators (Rabobank, INTL FCStone, Rice Dairy…) have linked the improvement in dairy markets to the fact that the reopening of the global economy is underpinned by unsustainable government spending and support, both directly to the dairy sector (US especially, where over US$1.2b was spent on supporting dairy farmers and dairy markets/food demand, in addition to support to businesses and employment, EU, and beyond). Most are concerned about a recession following any tapering off of those financial supports – though with an EU €750bn recovery package in the offing and an US presidential election in November, it is unlikely to happen in the short term.
  • Consequently, for the coming months, the mood in industry has improved, with market sentiment stronger.
  • Most international indicators have continued to firm, and are now close to or just above the average milk price paid by Irish dairy co-ops (which we estimate at 28.2c/l + VAT or 29.72c/l incl VAT). This is just under the May PPI (see table above right)
  • Strong lobbying by the National Dairy Committee has helped highlight those positives, and secure stable milk prices for May milk, with Dairygold actually increasing prices by 0.5c/l.
  • With the positive trends continuing through June, the Committee will seek improvements in milk prices by all co-ops.

Activity since last Council

  • IFA’s weekly engagement with DII and other stakeholders, including Teagasc, DAFM, ICOS and ICMSA to review developments in the processing sector has been reduced to monthly and/or ad hoc from now on. Collaborative contingency planning between co-ops and hard work by milk collecting and processing staff in every co-op has meant all milk has been collected and processed through peak, and the very real concerns in spring are now behind us.
  • The National Dairy Committee have contributed to the analysis by IFA of the new Programme for Government and to identify the issues of importance to the dairy sector.A number of feared elements which would have been damaging to the dairy sector did not make it to the final document (abolition of the N Derogation, the end to live (calf) exports, or a link being made between 7% annual green house gas reduction and reduction in the dairy herd) – largely reflecting strong and long lobbying of politicians by IFA.  Some positive initiatives, especially with regards to the use of taxation to smooth income volatility, need to be exploited to revive some of our and ICOS proposals in this area.
  • The Committee Chairman and Secretary have continued to participate in the Calf Stakeholders Group meetings.The work of the Group and its members has contributed hugely to increasing awareness of the importance of calf welfare and changed approaches by all farmers.  Statistics made available to the group show that for male calves to late June, there was a slight decrease in male calf births, slightly lower resort to knackeries for young calves, big decrease in marts sales, a big increase in farm to farm sales, a massive decrease in exports, and a significant decrease in young calf slaughters (through the Newcastle West “processing” facility – different from knackeries).  The Group is to be set up on a more permanent footing, with Terms of Reference being drawn up.
  • On a related matter, the €4m calf investment scheme – the closing date for receipt of claims is 30th September 2020. Any delay in this will result in penalties reducing the grant rate.
  • The Chair and Secretary have participated in the online launches of the Teagasc 2018 Sustainability Report (based on 2018 NFS) and the 2019 National Farm Survey.Both present some cause for concern in terms of sustainability, economic first, especially in terms of fast rising overhead costs, and environmental.  It is essential that Teagasc and co-ops would identify the issues and work with farmers to help them address them.
  • IFA has also participated in the ASSAP programme, which is showing a very strong engagement by farmers approached for participation (96% of the farmers approached accept to participate), and is progressing to support farmers in adopting mitigation measures to reduce the loss of nutrients and sediment losses to water courses on farms.
  • We are also today participating in the Dairy Sustainability Forum, a joint forum between the dairy industry (DII and other stakeholders, including farm organisations), the DAFM, and the Dept of Housing (Environment), who engendered the ASSAP programme two years ago.
  • The manner in which the milk price equivalent of the Ornua Purchase Price Index (PPI) is to be presented in future is currently the subject of a review by the Board of Ornua. IFA has always valued the PPI for the unique contribution to market transparency it makes to farmers, which is unparalleled in the dairy sector worldwide, and the envy of many other agricultural sectors.  IFA is therefore very keen to secure the continuation of the publication of a transparent, credible, and well understood PPI further to the review.
    However, with media reports suggesting that the review would consist principally of an increased processing cost calculation, understandable concern has been expressed by farmers as to the signal this would send to co-ops regarding their milk pricing decision at a crucial time.
    A top-level meeting was held between IFA and Ornua, followed by a meeting of the full National Dairy Committee addressed by Ornua CEO John Jordan and Head of Risk Management Colin Kelly.  IFA President, Deputy President and National Dairy Chairman and members of the National Dairy Committee expressed strong reservations regarding the proposed review, especially in terms of the justification for an increased processing cost, but also in terms of its timing and the strategy for its communication providing too short a lead up to the proposed implementation.
    The National Dairy (Management) Committee are to meet later this week to discuss the issue in greater detail.  The board of Ornua are to discuss this matter further at its July meeting, and the Chairman, who has already expressed strong reservations regarding the specifics of the review at the board table, will reiterate them strongly, taking on board fully the views of the Committee.

Upcoming issues 

  • Within 2/3 weeks, co-ops will be determining their June milk prices. IFA will monitor market developments and communicate those, which we hope will continue on the current more positive trend, to officers and members.  We will also articulate our lobbying arguments in advance of the early to mid-July dates by which boards will be making those decisions.
  • The renewal of the Nitrates derogation from 2021 is also coming up, and we have participated in a meeting with Teagasc to better understand the likely additional requirements, including a recalculation of the N load of a cow possibly from 85kgs to 89kgs (conservative figure), but also in terms of slurry storage requirements, spreading, and need to prove exports where farmers operate above 170kgs without derogation.As the Nitrates derogation is vital to the dairy sector, and bearing in mind the government formation talks involving the Green Party and their demands in those areas, the Committee has made a clear decision that will continue to work on this topic in conjunction with the Environment Committee.
Chairman Tom Phelan
Executive Catherine Lascurettes
  1. Market Review
  • The Irish timber market appears to have escaped the impacts of COVID-19 to date, there has been no decline in demand and the market remains buoyant, with a strong demand for roundwood.
  • The delays and shortages in felling licences and the resulting shortage in harvesting operations may have assisted in maintaining strong demand for roundwood.
  • Timber markets Q2 2020 (April to June):
All prices (ex VAT) quoted roadside for conifers
Product Type Length Diameter Price € /tonne
  (m) (cm) (Roadside)
Pulp 3 m < 7cm 28 – 32
Stakewood 1.6 m > 8cm < 15 cm 40 -44
Palletwood 2.5 m > 14 cm 46 – 50
3.1 m 52 – 57
3.4 m
3.7 m 56 -60
Sawlog 4.9m > 20cm 75 – 80
5.5 m
  • The following is the Forest Service May report:
    • 350ha of new forests were established, bringing the afforestation programme up to 1,233ha so far this year. This is a decrease of 27% on the area planted from this date last year.
    • €51,726,097 in forest premiums have been paid.
    • 43,248 linear metres of new forest road have been constructed, with a grant aid cost of €1,738,329. This is an increase of 15% in linear metre construction on this date last year.
    • 149 new felling licence issued in Mary bring the total licences issued to 714, this is a 76% decrease on the number of licences that issued in 2019.

Activity since last National Council

  • The new Reconstitution & Underplanting Scheme (Ash Dieback) (RUS) was launched. The scheme supports (i) site clearance (in advance of reconstitution) or partial clearance (in advance of underplanting), (ii) reconstitution and (iii) underplanting.
    • The underplanting support is a new element to the scheme, which involves the partial replanting of the ash plantation following partial clearance. All GPCs are available to the farmer including agro-forestry.
    • The manage options available to farmers under the scheme are restricted as follows:

    • The grant rates available to farmers are as follows:

    • The committee will be lobbying the new Minister to include a compensation element in the ash dieback scheme; farmers who planted ash as a pension and have had their investment devastated must be compensated.
  • The Forestry Appeals Committee (FAC) heard 29 appeal cases in June, of these appeals: 23 were confirmed, 5 were cancelled and 1 was varied.
  • IFA attended the COFORD Wood Mobilisation and Roundwood Forecast Working Group, the meeting focussed on parameters for developing new wood forecasts and the challenges represented by continuous cover forest in determining the associated harvest volumes and review of the outstanding recommendations to be implemented from Mobilising Ireland’s Forest Resource – Meeting the Challenges.
  • There was a meeting of the Management Committee, issues discussed included: new ash dieback scheme, Forestry section in Programme for Government, producer organisations and forestry licences.
  • The RDS Irish Forestry and Woodland Awards has a call out for entries, the closing date is 31st July 2020. There are three prize categories (i) production forestry award, (ii) Teagasc farm forestry award and community woodlands award.

Any EU/COPA developments

  • IFA participated in the webinar on The Role of Agriculture and Forestry in the EU Climate Law. Click here for an overview of the discussion.

Upcoming issues

  • IFA to meet with Department to discuss their project plan for dealing with forestry licences backlog and other issues.
  • Finalisation of Forestry Programme post 2020 submission, following feedback from the committee.
  • Finalisation of Producer Organisation Scheme proposal.
Chairman Vincent Nally
Executive Geraldine O’Sullivan

Domestic Market

Most parts of the country received welcome rain in June which has resulted in good grass growing conditions. This has reduced the demand for supplementary feeding of concentrates. During the dry spell it was disappointing to see some official advice instructing livestock farmers to use imported feed sources with dubious sustainability standards, such as palm kernel and soya hulls when native feedstuffs are available.

The rains were too little too late for some crops, especially spring plantings which were poorly established on drier ground up through the midlands and into the east and north east.

The combination of some poor Winter crops; the increased ratio of Spring crops and the damage from the drought will still see production tonnage struggling to break the 2 million tonnes mark this season.

Green harvest prices for barley and wheat remain in range of €135 – €142/t and €155 – €162/t respectively

The FOB Creil malting barley average price is currently at €172/t. Prices rose significantly following a decision by the Chinese to put an 80% tariff on Australian barley, which led to Chinese demand for French malting barley. With a lot of social establishments now reopened across Europe and some Irish pubs reopened since June 29th,  this should help malt demand.

International Markets

Harvesting has started across Europe and the Black sea region. It is reported that up to 40% of the Winter barley is harvested in France. Initial yields are described as very variable across all regions. Wheat and maize prices came off yearly lows last week as it was reported that US framers had planted 5 million acres less of maize than had been initially predicted. The September matif price which had dropped as low as €175/t is now back at the €182 level.

Due to the upswing in the US maize price, the automatic mechanism calculating import duties has resulted in all import duties being removed from maize for the moment. The import duty had been as high as €10.40/t a month ago.

Straw Supply

Due to the reduction in Winter plantings; the affects of a wet Winter and the recent drought conditions   it is estimated that barley straw availability could reduce by 250,000 tonnes and wheaten straw by 180,000 tonnes compared to last year. This is almost a 40% reduction in supply.

DAFM Preliminary BPS Figures

The recently released preliminary BPS figures from DAFM show a slight reduction in the overall cereal area for 2020. However, as expected Winter crop plantings are down over 40%. Due to our dependence on imported protein for animal feed it is encouraging to see a significant increase in the beans area for 2020.

Activity since last National Council

  • IFA Grain Committee have highlighted that the drought conditions in April/May have had a severe impact on the tillage sector. Recent rains have been too little too late for many crops. At best, many growers will have significant yield reductions while in other situations, entire crops are a write-off. The situation is particularly critical right up through the midlands and into the east and northeast where growers, in some cases, have practically closed the gates on crops which may not be worth harvesting.
  • The Grain Committee has again called on merchants and feed mills to prioritise Irish grain and pay sustainable grain prices to Irish tillage farmers.
  • The grain committee have contacted Teagasc regarding their promotion of feedstuffs such soya hulls and palm kernel and asked them to promote Irish grains in any future advisory notes.
  • The Farm to Fork Strategy element of the European Green Deal is aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. IFA have highlighted that there is nothing fair about targets in the Green Deal, which will increase the regulatory burden and undermine local tillage framers while continuing to allow access to non-EU feedstuffs produced to different standards.
  • IFA has called on the new Government to support the tillage sector. We have emphasised that government cannot ignore the strategic importance of the sector to the broader agricultural industry, and the critical role native grains play in Ireland’s food provenance credentials, in addition to its low carbon footprint.
  • Covid 19 has continued to have a severe impact on the tillage sector, particularly on the feed and malting barley sectors. IFA highlighted this in a recent submission to the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid Response.
  • The grain committee has continued discussions with the seed companies regarding improved seed premiums.
  • The malting barley committee has been in continued discussions with the malting companies regarding maximising the intake of malting barley this harvest despite the difficulties in the drinks sector. IFA has noted the support Diageo is offering to the pub trade, but have called on the drinks companies to also include growers in any support package if malting barley contracts are not honoured.
  • Meetings of the IFA grain committee and the grain management committee have been held online.

EU/COPA developments

  • Grain Chairman Mark Browne presented at a webinar on Plant Breeding Innovation where he stressed that Irish growers need access to New Breeding Techniques such as Gene Editing in order to compete with third country imports.
  • IFA, along with Copa.Cogeca, is lobbying in Brussels regarding the re authorisation of a number of vital PPP’s such as mancozeb.
  • IFA has continued its campaign in relation to an increased CAP budget.
  • IFA have participated in meetings of the Copa.Cogeca cereals working party and the EU Commission Civil Dialogue Group on Cereals and Oilseeds. The impact of the proposed Green Deal (Farm to Fork & Biodiversity strategies) was the main item on the agenda of both meetings. The Grain Chairman Mark Browne raised the issue of imports of third country maize and protein crops.

 Upcoming Issues/Events

  • IFA will continue to demand direct financial aid for the tillage sectors most affected by the Covid 19 pandemic.
  • Meeting to be arranged with Teagasc regarding the inclusion of more Irish grains in Dairy rations.
  • IFA will continue to contact the mushroom composters regarding procurement of Irish straw.
  • CAP 2020 continues to be a major issue for the viability of the Grain sector and the Grain Committee will be working on this in the coming months.
  • IFA is continuing to work on a labelling standard regarding the inclusion of native grains and will continue its campaign on greater inclusion of native grains in feed rations.
  • There are still high barley stocks in parts of the country and if maize continues to be imported while these barley stocks remain than the Grain Committee will have to take action on this.
Chairman Mark Browne
Executive Patrick Farrell

Market Report 

Increased rainfall last month was welcomed following the recording of historic moisture deficits for some areas in May. The majority of growers were irrigating earlier than ever and some irrigating before planting crops. There was 68.1mm of rainfall recorded at Dublin airport for the month of June which has improved the water table levels somewhat. Crop establishment and germination was affected by the drought conditions in May and this could have a knock-on effect for the rest of the season, root crops received significant irrigation to get them to establishWhere irrigation wasn’t available some sections of these crops were lost or yields have been significantly reduced. Even though soil moisture conditions have improved and irrigation has reduced, growers have already incurred significant extra costs.  

The marketing season for outdoor vegetable crops has begun. Many crops are now on the market and some of these crops have cost up to €800/ac extra to irrigate due to the drought.  For salad crops and tomatoes, adequate light levels have been reported to date with favourable growing conditions. 

The Continuation of the COVID-19 crisis has seen demand for supplies of fresh produce going to retail remaining strong. It is hoped that the food service sector will continue to improve as restaurants are allowed to re-open as of last week. Those supplying the food service sector have seen demand pick up slightly but it still remains at only 30% of normal.  

Activity since last National Council 

  • A letter was sent to all retailer CEO’s from IFA President Tim Cullinan detailing the implications of the drought for growers and the increased costs incurred.  
  • All retailers were contacted in relation to stocking more Irish produce such as courgettes, iceberg lettuce etc.  
  • IFA issues the annual horticulture newsletter which can be found here: 

http://ifa.newsweaver.com/GrainNews/i0tdnzfce7j 

  • IFA continues to engage the government to ensure that horticulture workers would continue to be allowed into the Ireland in accordance with EU guidelines. IFA’s media campaign continues to emphasis the critical importance for seasonal workers in horticulture. 
  • IFA continues to engage with DEASP on the initiative to recruit seasonal workers for the horticultural sector 
  • Along with the drought, producers are incurring major extra costs associated with implementing new Health and Safety guidelines due to the pandemic. Retailers have refused to acknowledge this in the farm gate price or show any appreciation for the extra effort which is ensuring fresh produce gets to their shelves. IFA has had a number of meetings with all the main retailers on this issue. 
  • A COPA meeting of the working party on fruit and vegetables was held last month. The main item on the agenda was the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategy. IFA will continue to monitor this and ensure a fair playing field for all growers.  
  • IFA put forward a submission for to the Joint Oireachtas detailing support for the horticulture sectors in the context of the next CAP through on-farm investment and the development of producer groups. 
  • IFA has continued its lobbying with the minister and at EU level in Brussels detailing the severe impact of the crisis on the amenity sector. Serious losses at peak production times in the sector will not be recouped this season. Losses of up to 50% of turnover have been reported in the cut flower sector and direct financial support will be required if this sector is to survive.  Last week the commission offered additional €10 million to promote sales of crisis-hit agri-food products. The extra €10 million fund will be available to boost sales of fruit and vegetable, wine, live plants, dairy and certain potatoes. Half of that amount will go to promotion activities run jointly by producer organisations from several EU countries and another half, to national activities. In both cases, promotion can take place either within or outside the EU within a one-year period. Proposals must be submitted by 27 August 2020. 
  • IFA continue to engage with Bord Bia and other stakeholders in a number of industry campaigns. IFA are involved in the decision-making process of all key activations in these campaigns. More activities are planned in the coming weeks for Celebrate Strawberry Season 

 EU/COPA Developments 

  • IFA have continued contact with both the EU Commission and COPA in relation to the impact of Covid 19 on the Horticulture sector 
  • IFA has lobbied in Brussels and with DAFM regarding the re authorisation of a number of vital PPP’s such as mancozeb. There is also ongoing work involving a series of meetings regarding emergency derogation on a number of products. 

 Upcoming Events / Issues 

  • IFA will continue to demand direct financial aid for the sectors most affected by the Covid 19 pandemic 
  • Work will continue with Bord Bia in relation to the EU fruit and vegetable campaign. The promotion opportunity is for 80% EU funding towards a significant (all public) generic promotion of fruit and veg. The potential funding is €1m over 2 years with €100k coming from industry. 
  • IFA will continue its work regarding the retention of key PPP’s. 
  • Meetings will continue with retailers regarding the issues arising as a result of Covid 19. 
Chairman Paul Brophy
Executive Patrick Farrell

Milk price and Liquid Milk Market

  • For liquid milk producers, the milk price this time of year is the creamery milk price;
  • The National Liquid Milk Committee has been actively supporting the milk price lobbying effort by the National Dairy Committee, and will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead.

 

The National Milk Agency, the statutory body in charge of securing the national supply of contracted fresh milk for the drinking market, has published its annual report for 2019. The following are some of the important headline issues it raises:

    • National consumption fell 1m litres in 2019 to 578m litres.
    • An estimated 75% of retail milk sales are in 2l bottles
    • The number of contracted farmers fell by 69 to 1680, a 50% drop from the 95/96 levels – the year the NMA was first created. This reflects the lack of generational renewal and the decisions of farmers to cease liquid milk production because of the lack of profitability relative to the alternative creamery milk production system.
    • 18% of suppliers, accounting for 22% of supplies, continue to be paid a flat (winter) milk price. The majority are paid on the basis of a constituent-based price + a winter premium (sometimes a small element of premium in summer, too).
    • IFA has campaigned to create awareness among farmers that they stand to gain from being paid for their rising constituents over the winter months. The NMA report clearly shows that those types of pricing systems result in better remuneration for milk.
    • The average price paid for all-year-round contracts fell 5% compared to 2018 to just over 35c/l including all available bonuses, but excluding VAT.
    • Full details and liquid milk market information are available in the NMA annual report at the following link: http://nationalmilkagency.ie/uploads/files/annualreports/2029/NMA-annual-report2019.pdf

Activities since last Council

  • The creation of a broadcast only WhatsApp group for the Committee has allowed to ensure it remains very well informed of IFA and dairy activity;
  • The Committee is developing a short strategic document for liquid milk to pursue some of the issues that have yet to be delivered from our 2017 strategy, and to feed into the National Milk Agency strategy for the next 5 years.

Upcoming issues

  • Pending approval by National Council, the Committee intends to elect a new Chairman by postal vote, and have a virtual meeting to follow and formally hand over.
  • The next meeting will also review, amend as necessary and approve the proposed strategy. This will then be publicised as part of the presentation of the new incoming Chairman.

 

Chairman John Finn
Executive Catherine Lascurettes

Market Report 

32c/kg drop in Pig Price  

The pig sector has suffered the greatest farm gate loss since the Covid-19 Pandemic hit. The Irish pig price has dropped from €1.96/kg at the beginning of February to an average of €1.64/kg on the week beginning Monday 29th June. This 32c/kg drop in price translates to a devaluation of a factory pig by €27, and for the average Irish pig farm with 750 sows, that means a reduced income of over 10,000 per weekWith current production costs, which have increased due to Covid-19 restrictions and pig feed price increases of €10 per tonne in the past two months, pig farmers once again find themselves back at near break-even prices. At current prices of just over €1.60/kg, costs are covered, but the investment that is constantly required in order to keep up with ever emerging technology and standards in the worldwide pig sector, will not happen on Irish pig farms.   

Worldwide Pigmeat Market 

Pig producing countries across the EU continue to be in turmoil since the onset of Covid restrictions. Factory closures continue to cause a worry to the sector and those employees who work in the industry, across Europe Pig production throughput continues to be heavily disrupted in many countries. Many German, Danish and French pig processing plants continue to experience great difficulties in coping with physical distancing requirements and outbreaks of Covid19 among meat factory workers continue to be an all too common reportThis delay in processing capacity, combined with dismal foodservice demand, which is an important outlet for pork across Europe, is hampering pig prices improving and the EU average pig price remains at €1.60/kg.   

The important Chinese market has returned to the marketplace and product is back on the move again, which is a positive development. The price has tumbled from late 2019 levels, but the overall deficit in pigmeat in China will underpin sustained demand at profitable price levels in the second half of 2020 and for years to come.   

Chinese Market Approval 

It was disappointing news for the industry that the Rosderra processing plant in Roscrea was temporarily removed from the list of approved export pigmeat plantsin the last week of June. While this action was a result of the much-publicised media coverage of Covid-19 cases among meat plant workers, there was no concerns over the safety of pigmeat products from the Roscrea plant or any meat plant in Ireland. DAFM, IFA and Rosderra are working to reinstate the market access for this important pig processing plant as soon as possible. The Chinese export market is vital for the viability of the Irish pig farming sector. The huge loss of pigmeat production in China due to ASFestimated at up to 50 million tonnes loss in 2020, will underpin worldwide demand for pigmeat. It is also an important destination of lower value pigmeat cuts from the Irish processing sector, cuts that would not sell to many consumers domestically, and this helps to increases the overall value of the pig in Ireland 

DNA Scheme 

The IFA DNA traceback scheme continues to monitor compliance levels of Irish porkbacon and processed pigmeat on both retail shelves and foodservice providers. Pallace Foods, one of the largest foodservice providers in Irelandhave increased compliance, as proven by the DNA testing. The latest rounof testing in June showing 100% of products sourced through Pallace Foods was of Irish origin. This is a vast improvement in results of previous testing and Pallace Foods and other foodservice providers such as AppleGreen service stations, who have also dramatically improved their usage of Irish pigmeat products, will be publicly commended by the IFA for supporting Irish pig farmers.  

 

IFA Pig Committee Priorities 

Pig Chairman, Tom Hogan said that stability is required in the pigmeat sector and all stakeholders must work together to emerge from this trying time as a prosperous, strong sector.  Hard fought market access must be protectedthe China market is vital to this sector and the reinstatement of all Irish export plants to full access is a priority.  

Pig Welfare Directive 

The IFA Pig Committee have always been engaged with the DAFM on welfare issues in the sector and will continue to engage in a proactive fashion, under the direction of the new Minister for Agriculture, Barry Cowen. The Pigs Chairman has written to the Minister seeking a meeting to discuss pig welfare, research and development in the sector, TAMs funding among other challenging issues that face Irish pig farmers.  

TAMFunding 

Tom Hogan along with the Poultry Chairman, Andy Boylan has written to the newly appointed Minister for Agriculture, Barry Cowen requesting a meeting to discuss and progress the TAMs- PPIS (Pig & Poultry investment scheme) and other sector pressing issues.  The previously announced increase in the investment limit from €80,000 up to €200,000 for the PPIS, has to date never been implemented.  It is a priority for both these IFA Committees that this in implemented as soon as possible.   

Chairman Thomas Hogan
Executive Robert Malone

As restaurants re-opens this week there is an air of optimism that the food service sector will begin to       return to some form of “new-normal”. Demand for early varieties continues as more Queens come onto   the market. Reports from early growers suggest average yields with some frost damage on the earliest  crops.

In the U.K. this week has seen free-buy trade in all sectors at low levels. As the end of the 2019 season approaches, contracts and material bought are being “cleared” up in preparation of new-crop supply. Earlies trade is reported to be sluggish. There seems to be a reduction in demand for earlies on the free-buy market with the lack of catering demand being felt.

Across Europe the impact of the lockdown is beginning to come to light, processing activity in Holland in May is estimated to have reduced to 65% of capacity compared to the year before and in France it reduced to 52%. The Dutch industry is estimated to have used 330,000 tonnes or 7.7% less raw material over the twelve-month period to the end of May. The situation is improving now, however, the long-term impact is likely to be felt for some time.

Ex-Farm Potato Prices reported to IFA

Low High Average
Rooster box €330 €380 €350
Rooster10 kg bag €3.30 €4.00 €3.50
Whites box €320 €370 €350
K Pinks 10kg bag €4.20 €5.00 €4.50
Golden Wonder 10kg bag €5.00 €6.00 €5.50

Activity since last National Council 

  • Results of the IFA potato stock survey were published in early June.  The summary is as follows; survey results reveal that there were 30,000 tonnes of Rooster as at 31st May 2020, which is on par with last season but considerably lower than previous years. The amount of other varieties remaining was marginal.   
  • IFA are currently carrying out the planted acreage survey for the 2020 season. DAFM has released preliminary BPS area figures which show potato area similar to 2019. If yields take a hit from the drought this will leave production significantly lower than last year. 
  • An online national Potato Committee meeting was held on the 3rd of June. The main discussion points were: the implications of the drought, 2020 season progress and PPP’s.  
  • A number of growers supplying the catering and fresh chip sectors have continued to be seriously affected by the lack of demand due to the impact of the pandemic and have had to send potatoes for cattle feed. IFA have brought this to the attention of DAFM. 
  • IFA has been involved in meetings of the Potato Promotion group to launch the new EU potato promotion campaign. The first activation took place last month which was an Instagram campaign where influencers created potato dishes. The website can be found on https://www.potato.ie/ 
  • IFA has lobbied in Brussels and with DAFM regarding the reauthorisation of a number of vital PPP’s. There is also ongoing work involving a series of meetings regarding an emergency derogation for the potato desiccant diquat. 
  • There was further interaction with DAFM regarding the inclusion of haulm toppers and potato storage equipment under TAMS.  
  • IFA put forward a submission to the Joint Oireachtas detailing support for the horticulture sectors in the context of the next CAP through on-farm investment, and the development of producer groups. 
  • Last week the commission offered an additional €10 million to promote sales of crisis-hit agri-food products. The extra €10 million fund will be available to boost sales of fruit and vegetable, wine, live plants, dairy and certain potatoes. Half of that amount will go to promotion activities run jointly by producer organisations from several EU countries and the other half to national activities. In both cases, promotion can take place either within or outside the EU within a one-year period. Proposals must be submitted by 27 August 2020. 

Upcoming Activity/Events 

  • Potato Promotions – The promotion has now begun and activities are scheduled for the coming months. IFA will be involved in the planning and will be participating in the activities. 
  • All growers have received a letter from IFA asking them to contribute to the potato promotion fund. There will be a follow up to the letter to encourage all growers to contribute shortly. Growers and industry will each have to contribute 20% of the funding but this will be matched by 80% co-funding from the EU. 
  • IFA will continue to demand that packers and retailers increase potato farm gate prices to cover the extra costs of cold storage. 
  • The annual potato planting survey has commenced. 
  • IFA will continue its work regarding for the retention of key PPP’s and seeking a derogation for Diquat. 

 

Chairman Thomas McKeown
Executive Patrick Farrell

De-Minimus Compensation for Poultry Farmers Affected by LPAI 

LPAI (Low Pathogen Avian Infleunza) has affected a total of 14 poultrflocks, mostly eggs layers, but also two fattening turkey flocks, in the Monaghan region in the past 3 months. LPAI is a non-notifiable disease, meaning that there is no onus on the flock owner to depopulate, or any compensation from DAFM for losses incurred. The reality for any flock affected by LPAI is massive production loss followed by high mortality. As LPAI is highly infectious, the only responsible option for affected flock owners is to completely depopulate and cull the entire flock, and dispose in a very bio-secure manner. This comes at a high cost, of the poultry stock, complete loss of income for a sustained period, and the high rendering cost of flock disposal and site disinfection.  

The industry stakeholders, including farmer broiler groups, answered a voluntary funding call to provide an industry fund to help these unfortunate farmers to dispose of LPAI positive flocks in a timely manner, to avoid further spread of the poultry disease , especially in the high poultry density areas of Co Monaghan, where over 50% of broiler and egg production is based.   

Following a detailed submission from IFA seeking a fully funded compensation scheme for the affected farmers, and lobbying led by the IFA Poultry Chairman, Andy Boylan, DAFM have a De-Minimus scheme for the 14 affected farmers to a total of €20,000 to each farmer.  

Continuing Threat to the Poultry Industry from Avian Infleunza (AI) and other Zoonotic Diseases 

The industry recently formed a Poultry Working Group, (PWG) including IFA representing all poultry farmers, to tackle the huge and ongoing threat the sector faces from disease such as AI. Ongoing engagement with DAFM on exploring options to deal with disease outbreaks in the future and higher levels of bio-security in all stages of poultry broiler and egg production are needed.  

Market Report 

Broilers 

Broiler production remains constant at around 2 million broilers every week.  It is a great credit to the three poultry processing plants that have managed to maintain production without any interruption while following Covid-19 restrictions. With the streamlined and constant throughput nature of the broiler production system, processors acted quickly and decisively in early March, in order to protect their staff and the throughput of product to the final consumer. One of Irelands largest meat processing plants, Manor Farm in Shercock, Cavan processes 850,000 birds per week and employs over 600 people on site, have had not one worker testing positive for Covid-19 to date. Extra shifts through the night and into the weekends, allowed production levels to be maintained, and workers to keep the recommended distance from fellow workers. PPE and proper guidance by employers to all staff in the poultry sector prevented any hotspots of infection from becoming an issue.   

Demand for chicken did experience significant surge in retail demand following restriction introductions in March this has been offset by the falloff in foodservice sales 

The risk posed by Avian Influenza (AI) remains threat to the entire sector and IFSA reminds all farmers to maintain the highest standards of biosecurity 

Egg Production 

Following 14 confirmed outbreaks of LPAI, in the Co Monaghan region, circa 550,000 laying hens were culled. This has left a shortfall of eggs in the Irish market. The increase in retail demand combined with this shortfall has created a perfect storm in the table egg market. The main egg packers are importing Northern Irish eggs to cover the shortfall of Irish eggs. These eggs all meet the Lion Standard and have beetemporarily approved to be sold in Bord Bia Quality assured packs from Irish packers, in order to hold retail markets. Restocking of many of the culled hen laying houses is underway, and the industry is fully committed to having a dedicated chain of supply of Bord Bia Quality Assured eggs as soon as possible.  

Egg Price Campaign 

IFA has started a campaign to get all retailers to pay an increased egg price to the supply chain, and ultimately back to farmers, to cover the increased risks the entire industry carries, especially egg farmers. IFA will lead this campaign and coordinate farmer–retailer meetings and egg packer meetings in order to ensure the risks are recognised financially by the supply chain.   

 Immediate Priorities 

Disease Threats 

The IFA will continue to engage along with the PWG (Poultry Working Group) to ensure an acceptable system to manage and compensate any further disease outbreaks is in place, in the future for Ireland’s poultry sector.   

Egg Price Campaign 

As Above. The IFA is in talks with stakeholders to ensure adequate remuneration for all costs and risks borne by commercial and free-range egg producers is returned from the marketplace. 

TAMFunding 

The Poultry Chairman, Andy Boylan, along with the Chairman of the IFA Pigs Committee Tom Hogan, have written to the newly appointed Minister for Agriculture, Barry Cowen requesting a meeting to discuss and progress the TAMs- PPIS (Pig & Poultry Investment Scheme) and other sector pressing issues.  The previously announced increase in the investment limit from €80,000 up to €200,000 for the PPIS has, to date never been implemented.  It is a priority for both these IFA committees that this in implemented as soon as possible.   

Chairman Andy Boylan
Executive Robert Malone

Market Report

  • Lamb Price. For 02/7/2020. Strong demand. Factories paying €5.50/5.55/kg. Top prices €5.60/kg paid to 21.5kgs. Ewes €2.70/2.80/kg.
  • 60,821 sheep were slaughtered at sheep export premises the week ended June 28st. compared to 58.904 in the same week of 2019. Sheep slaughtering’s for 2020 are up by 63,911 or 5% on 2019 levels.
  • In selling lambs, select carefully and avoid overweight and under finished lambs. The advice is as always – move lambs as they become fit.
  • In the UK. Major increase in lamb prices in the UK in the last two weeks. Prices are strong with the AHBD reporting mart price up in the last 2 weeks. On June 30th. mart prices averaged £2.28/kg lw, equivalent to €5.65/kg.
  • Main New season Bord Bia Lamb TV promotions running from June 1st to 21st. Second wave from July 13th to 28th as part of EU Lamb Try It-Love it campaign.
  • The big Muslin festival of Eid Al Adha begins on July 30th and buyers are already trying to put down stock, especially in the UK.
  • IFA has highlighted that lamb prices are rising as factories struggle to get supplies to meet strong demand. The facts are factories cannot get lambs at their low quoted prices and are having to pay a lot more, up to 30c to 40c/kg in places.
  • Lambs are very scarce in some factory lairages in the last week. Weekly disposals have been high and a lot of lambs have moved. Nationally the kill is up 63,911 and the spring lamb kill is 45,182 ahead of last year.
  • The store trade is also strong at the marts, with quality lambs in the 35kgs weight range making the mid €80’s.
  • Quality Assurance. IFA has written to Bord Bia requesting a stakeholders meeting to advance Quality assurance on the sheep meat side. IFA has consistently called on factories to increase the QA bonus to 30c/kg in order to increase the number of sheep farmers in the Quality assurance scheme from 12,000.
  • IFA will continue to publish lamb prices twice weekly and all of the latest data is on ifa.ie
  • Weekly kill data up to week 26, Sunday June 28th.

Lamb Imports.

  • Letter to Minister Creed on Lamb Imports. IFA has written to Minister Creed about live lamb imports demanding that the Department of Agriculture publish the volumes and origin of all lamb imports on a weekly basis.
  • In addition, IFA has requested that the Department and Bord Bia clarify the situation regarding traceability, origin and quality assurance status on all lamb processed in Irish factories.

Meeting with the Department of Agriculture on Sheep Policy

  • IFA met with senior officials in the DAFM on July 2nd to discuss various policy issues including IFA proposals on €30 per ewe targeted payments, Sheep welfare scheme, Budget 2021, CAP, Eco Schemes, Environmental schemes, EU trade deals under Brexit and EU/NZ/AUS deals, Lamb Imports, Market access, Quality Assurance and Grading.

Budget 2021 Proposal

  • With 34,000 flock owners, sheep farming is the second largest sector in terms of farm numbers. The sector has an output of €450m with exports of 55,000t to 35 different countries.
  • The Sheep Welfare Scheme has been very positive and effective; sheep are major contributors to environmental preservation, particularly in hill and mountainous areas. The four-year scheme is due to conclude in Dec 2020.
  • IFA Proposal; A targeted payment of €30 per ewe through a combination of CAP and national funding for sheep farmers. Across the national flock of 2.57 million ewes, this would require funding of €77m pa.

Activity since last Council

  • IFA National Sheep committee meeting on May 28th.
  • IFA made a detailed submission to the Government and the EU Commission on the measures needed to support the sheep sector through COVID-19.
  • Lobby of TDs and Senators on Government formation and campaign for €30 per ewe.
  • Ongoing contact with DAFM, Bord Bia, Sheep Ireland, and lamb factories on sheep issues.
  • Weekly publication of IFA Beef and Sheep Update and update of IFA What’s app groups on a weekly basis. See ifa.ie
  • IFA coordinated elections to the board of Sheep Ireland Board on behalf of Producer Groups.

EU/COPA Developments

  • IFA has lobbied and briefed senior EU Commission officials on the sheep issues and IFA proposals.
  • IFA working with FNO – French Sheep farmers and others on EU measures for the sheep sector.

Upcoming Issues/Priorities

  • With the main selling season in full swing, lamb prices are a priority.
  • Lobby on campaign for €30 per ewe payment and Sheep Welfare scheme with new Government and DAFM.

 

Chairman Sean Dennehy
Director of Livestock Kevin Kinsella

TB

Revised COVID-19 testing protocol

  • DAFM has issued a revised TB Testing Protocol which comes into effect on July 1st.
  • The key change is the removal of the 28-day grace period after the test due date for sales.
  • From July 1st the normal herd suspension notices will issue.
  • Farmers with COVID concerns can still avail of the facility to have their test delayed without sanction. In these cases, contact will need to be made with the RVO prior to the due date for the test.
  • Calves under 120 days continue to be exempt from test requirements and internal sales of these animals continue to be allowed.
  • The protocol will be reviewed again before the 1st August

 DAFM changes to the TB programme

  • The Department of Agriculture has recently implemented changes to the TB programme, without prior consultation with IFA.
  • These changes relate to inconclusive animals;
    • The removal of older inconclusives (inconclusives in the herd from previous tests) as in-contacts with compensation when a new Breakdown Down occurs
    • Where four or more inconclusives are detected at a herd test, they must be removed as reactors with compensation
  • IFA has requested a meeting with the Department to discuss the implementation of this approach
  • IFA has again highlighted the failure of the Department of Agriculture to address the shortcomings in the TB programme

2021 Programme

  • IFA will be meeting with DAFM to discuss the 2021 programme, including the 30-day pre-movement test and compensation schemes.

 BVD

  • The substantive issue to be addressed in the BVD programme is the testing approach for 2021 and thereafter.
  • This will require detailed discussions with AHI as the EU Animal Health Law requires 18 months of no confirmed PI animals in the country in order to recognise freedom.
  • This brings into focus the objectives of the programme and the costs associated with achieving these objectives.
  • IFA sought a detailed analysis of all costs and benefits, both short and long-term, of the options available to progress the programme to allow for an informed discussion and decision on the future direction.
  • AHI have provided some of this detail at the last BVDIG including experiences in other countries.
  • More information is required to allow for fully informed discussions to determine the future direction of the programme

Latest weekly figures

 

Veterinary Medicines

  • IFA continue to pursue the facilitation of Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP) prescribing Antiparasitic Products
  • IFA has succeeded in getting the Department of Agriculture to seek a facilitation for the provision of SQP prescribing of these products from the Commission.
  • Prophylactic use of antibiotics is prohibited in the Regulation which raises issues for the use of DC intramammaries in particular
  • IFA has raised the issue of DC intramammary use in the new EU Regulation with DAFM and pointed out the absence of feasible alternatives and the need to ensure the health welfare and productive capacity of animals is protected
  • Formal discussions have not started with DAFM on this component of the New Regulation

AMR (Antimicrobial Resistance)

  • IFA has secured a key amendment to the Department of Agriculture Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HPCIA) guidelines.
  • Products in the ‘Restrict’ category were only allowed to be used prior to sensitivity and culture test results where the condition was immediately ‘Life Threatening’ to the animal in the proposed document.
  • IFA has secured the removal of the ‘Life Threatening’ requirement and have had it replaced with ‘the health, welfare and productive capacity’ of the animal.
Chairman Pat Farrell
Executive Tomas Bourke

Background: UK exited EU on 31st January 2020 – in Transition Period until 31st December 2020 

  • UK will not seek TP extension – will exit Single Market and Customs Union on 31st Dec 2020 
  • Irish farmers again face threat of ‘no-deal’, ino Free Trade Agreement by end 2020 
    ie  tariffs on exports to GB and increased competition from third countries. 

 EU-UK Negotiations on Future Relationship 

  • Five weekly rounds of negotiations started 29th June after BJ & EU agreed to intensify talks 
  • Negotiations are dead-locked after four previous rounds held since March 
  • BarnierEU is asking for nothing more than is in the Political Declaration negotiated with Boris Johnson … UK continues to backtrack on its commitments. 
  • Three main areas of difference 
  • EU wants a comprehensive partnership agreement covering all areas – UK wants a series of stand-alone agreements on trade, fisheries, services and other areas 
  • EU wants a level playing field on standards in agri-food, state aid, environment, climate change, taxation, etc.  UK wants independence & rejects alignment with EU rules  
  • Fisheries – UK wants a separate deal & annual negotiations  
  • Germanin EU Presidency from 1st July – Merkel legacy 
  • EU says agreement required by end October to allow time for ratification. UK says by autumn. 

Other developments 

  • Tory government rejected amendments to its Agriculture bill – whereby food imports would have to be produced to same standards applying to British farmers (Conservative MP Neil Parish) 
  • UK & US trade talks 
  • Reports that UK will offer access for hormone-fed beef, chlorinated chicken, etc but with higher tariffto protect British farmers. Cabinet divided. Some Ministers want higher tariffs phased out – opposed by Gove & Eustace 
  • If UK allows lower standard US imports, then EU will require greater checks on UK imports  
  • UK is also in trade negotiations with JapanAustralia & New Zealand 
  • UK Global Tariff from Jan 2021 published. An EU-UK FTA would aim to eliminate tariffs. 
  • Based on EU common external tariff, mostly provides similar levels of protection 
  • Uses a 5-year average exchange rate of 83.6p (current rate 90p) 
  • WTO Director General position – Phil Hogan has withdrawn his nomination. 
  • GB Border Controls for EU Goods  to be phased in. (Does not apply to NI-GB trade) 
  • Jan 2021 – Standard goods: traders will have up to 6 months to complete customs declarations & pay tariffs. Live animals & high risk plants will require pre-notification, health documentation & be subject to physical checks at destination or other premises 
  • April 2021 – All products of animal origin (POAO), regulated plants & plant products will require pre-notification & relevant health documentation.  
  • July 2021 – For all goods, declarations & payment of tariffs required at point of importation. SPS commodities: increased physical checks & sampling now at GB border control posts 
  • New GB border operating model expected in July. 

 Northern Ireland Protocol (replaces backstop & aims to avoid hard border in Ireland) 

  • Part of Withdrawal Agreement – takes effect 1st Jan 2021, irrespective of EU-UK FTA or no deal 
  • Requires EU Customs and SM rules to apply to all goods entering NI from GB 
  • EU tariffs to applyunless goods are not at risk of entering the Republic. 
  • UK is to expand infrastructure for SPS checks at NI ports on animals and agri-food and some new customs processesWants to presume goodare for NI unless there is substantial risk they are destined for Republic  
  • Barniera lot of details to be settled  to move from aspiration to operation. 
  • UK says NI businesses will have unfettered access to GB, buy has not set out how this will happen, ie how are NI and RoI goods to be identified? 

 EU negotiating mandat(25th February 2020) 

  • Offers FTA with no tariffs and no quotas 
  • Conditional on level playing field and on terms of a fisheries agreement 
  • Agreement “should uphold common high standards, and corresponding high standards over time with Union standards as a reference point in the areas of state aid, competition, employment, environment, climate change, relevant tax matters. 
  • Specific reference to not reducing standards re health and product sanitary quality in the agricultural and food sector1. 
  • EU reserves right to apply autonomous measures to react quickly to unfair competition. 

 IFA Position 

  • 20th May: IFA video conference with Tanaiste Simon Coveney and Minister Helen McEntee 
  • IFA wants closest possible future trading relationship that maintains value of the UK market for Irish farmers, which in turn will ensure the stability of the EU food market. 
  • Three objectives: 
  1. Tariff-free and quota-free access to the UK market 
  2. Level playing field whereby the UK maintains corresponding standards on food safety, animal health, environment, etc and 
  3. No return by the UK to a cheap food policy, so that their external tariffs and import quotas for sensitive products such as beef, butter and lamb do not undercut the EU. 
  • For GB trade to NI, IFA also requires close SPS and customs checks and controls on all live animals and agri-food products  
  • NI must not become a back-door into the EU for UK’s sub-standard food imports 

 Brexit Support Measures required by Irish Farmers 

  • Govt announced €50m support scheme for beef finishers – see Livestock Report. 
  • IFA had campaigned for €111m for beef price losses from Jan to mid-May 2020, in addition to €160m for May to Dec 2019 losses, and release of €23m unspent BEAM I funding. 
  • IFA is pressing for Government and EU support measures, including: 
  • Full compensation for any further losses during Transition arising from Brexit uncertainty, sterling volatility and COVID-19 impact 
  • Dedicated EU Brexit outcome contingency fund of €1bn with flexibility to be scaled up as necessary to deal with all scenarios including the possibility of no deal, ie to include direct payments to farmers to fully compensate for the reduced value of the UK market in addition to market support measures, and longer-term structural and adjustment funding. 

Bryan Barry
Association Secretary

Revised EU Commission MFF/COVID19 Recovery Package 1/2

  • On May 27th last: EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen came forward with a COVID19 Recovery Package for Europe.
  • The Package included:
    • Pandemic Crisis Fund of €540bn;
    • €1,100 bn MFF for next 7 years;
    • European Recovery Next Generation Fund of €750bn.
  • The revised 7-year MFF replaces May 2018 Commission proposal and EU Council President Charles Michel Feb 2020 proposal.
  • The new proposal is a 9% decrease from the CAP Budget 2014- 2020 at constant 2018 prices.
  • Included in the CAP is €15bn from the Next Generation Fund to support climate change initiatives in the Just Transition Programme to support rural areas so as to make structural changes necessary in line with the European Green Deal, Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity Strategies.
  • This funding is added to Pillar 2 funding and is available up to Dec 2024. It will be incorporated in Member States CAP Plans.

MFF proposals on CAP

 Some important points re. MFF

  • There is no breakdown for what Ireland will be allocated. Based on the previous CAP it would be allocated along same lines as previous programming period – about 2.7% or €9bn (P1 & P2).
  • The level of co-financing required for Pillar 2 is a national decision.
  • IFA’s target: value of Direct Payments post 2020 to be set at €2bn/yr. for the next 7 years (€1.8bn/yr. currently).
  • The Commission proposals are being discussed by EU Council Heads of State on 17th/18th The Commission plan to have the full package agreed by Q4 for implementation from Jan 2021.
  • If the Budget is agreed, EU CAP transition rules will mean various farm schemes will operate in 2021 under the “new money old rules” criteria. This would mean a cut of about 5% or €50m in Pillar 1 payments next year.
  • IFA has called on the Taoiseach to reject the Commission proposal at EU Heads of State.

EU Green Deal, including Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies

The main points in the Farm to Fork + Biodiversity Strategies are:

  • Reducing the use of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030.
  • Reducing nutrient losses by 50% and the use of fertilisers by 20% by 2030.
  • Reducing the sales of antimicrobials for farmed animals by 50% by 2030.
  • Revising and improving animal welfare legislation based on scientific evidence.
  • Increasing Organic farming to 25% of EU land area by 2030 (currently 1.5% in Ireland).
  • Clarifying competition rules for collective initiatives to strengthen farmers position in the supply chain.
  • Developing a Green based model rewarding farmers for Carbon sequestration through CAP or market.
  • Planting 3 billion trees by 2030.
  • Restoring 25,000km of the EU’s rivers to free-flowing state.
  • Protecting 30% of the EU land and sea areas – extension of Natura (Ireland at 13%).
  • Stimulating sustainable food consumption and promote affordable healthy food for all.
  • IFA has called for Impact assessment – agreed at EU level.

EU CAP Transition

  • The Transition arrangements are currently been discussed at EU level. The European Parliament and the Council have agreed a 2-year transition. The Commission is still pushing for a 1-year transition. It is expected that there will be an agreement shortly which allow for extension of all schemes for either the 1- or 2-year period.

CAP Post 2020 details

  • There is unlikely to be any discussions on the details of CAP until the autumn.
  • Meanwhile DAFM are continuing with discussions on SWOT analysis, Needs assessment to be followed by the interventions or measures in the next CAP Plan for Ireland.

 Main points to emerge from recent CAP Consultative meeting

  • The Croatian Presidency concluded with only some progress on environmental impact assessments and targets to be achieved in next CAP.
  • DAFM said there has been little progress on issues such as the new green architecture, as well as how the new Farm to fork and Bio diversity strategies will be integrated into the next CAP. It is expected that there will be significant discussion on the details in the autumn under the German Presidency when normal ‘in person’ meetings will take place.

Needs Assessment for the next CAP Plan:

  • At the CAP Focus Group meeting held on June 10th IFA President Tim Cullinan presented IFA’s top 6 needs for the next CAP(see Appendix 1 enclosed)
  • Following on this, DAFM has now presented a draft needs assessment under each of the 9 CAP objectives (see Appendix 2 enclosed).

The 9 CAP objectives are;

  1. Support viable farm income and resilience across the union to enhance the food sector.
  2. Enhance market orientation and increase competitiveness including greater focus on research, technology, and digitalisation.
  3. Improve the farmers position in the food value chain.
  4. Contribute to climate change mitigation and adaption as well as sustainable energy.
  5. Foster sustainable development and efficient management of natural resources such as soil, water and air.
  6. Contribute to the protection of Biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services, and protect habitats and landscape.
  7. Attract young farmers and facilitate business development in rural areas.
  8. Promote employment growth, social inclusion and local development in rural areas including Bio economy and sustainable forestry.
  9. Improve response of EU Agriculture to societal demands on food & health, including safe nutritious food, food waste and animal welfare.

Once the needs assessment is concluded, of critical importance to IFA are the interventions or measures that are necessary to address these needs. IFA will be prioritising the measures across a wide range of schemes. 

Gerry Gunning

Council Report

Significant Water Management Issues (SWMI) Consultation Extension

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the public consultation for the SWMI deadline has been extended from June 26th2020 to 5pm August 7th 2020. This consultation is part of the work in preparation for Irelands third cycle of the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) under the Water Framework Directive.

Water Charges

In a move to standardise water charges across the country, Irish Water are introducing a new pricing structure for water supplied to businesses. The move will see four different usage bands being introduced in addition to standing charges per connection. Engagement with Irish Water on this matter will continue.

ASSAP Interim Report

The first ASSAP interim report was published in June. Although the programme is still in the early stages, the initial findings are positive, with farmer engagement in the programme reaching 96% and a net improvement of 16.7% in water quality in water bodies that were prioritised areas for action.

 Activity since last National Council

 National Environment Committee Meeting

The Committee held a meeting via Microsoft teams on the 16th June where Liam Mac Hale joined and presented. Some of the items discussed included CAP, Farm to Fork, Smart Farming, Activity with Irish Water and Renewables and the Nitrates Derogation,

Other Meetings and Discussions

As part of an IFA delegation and on-going work, a meeting with Irish Water was held regarding the proposed water pipeline project and previous issues relating to extractions.

Engagement also continues with TII and others regarding the development of a Greenways Code of Practice, to protect the interests of landowners impacted by the development of greenways on their land.

A presentation was made to the dairy committee giving an update on the nitrates derogation and some of the latest findings from Teagasc increasing the Nitrogen output of a cow from 85 kgs to 89kgs.

Various other discussions have taken place on the following topics: Greenways, National Water Forum, Fertiliser Association of Ireland, National Waste Prevention Committee, IFFPG, ASSAP and Smart Farming.

Upcoming

  • As part of an IFA delegation, a meeting with the EPA will be held to discuss the short-lived nature of methane and how it is accounted and reported on.
  • Now that restrictions have eased, the 2020 Smart Farming programme is getting underway. The process of contacting participants to arrange suitable call out times for their cost savings studies has commenced and will be carried out over the next three weeks.
  • As a result of IFA’s submission to TII on their Greenways Draft Code of Practice, a meeting specifically between IFA and TII will be held.
Chairman Paul O’Brien
Executive Peter Linden

Activity Since Last National Council

  • Farm Business Committee meeting – the first full virtual committee meeting took place on 10th June, where members were updated on current issues:
    • PRA services update: working arrangements are subject to ongoing review with Covid restrictions, but services are open for applications for registration (processed in terms of priority, unless deemed urgent) and issuing copy documents. Registrations / searches of Deeds are also being processed.
    • VAT / vaccine: updates from the DAFM and IFA’s Animal Health committee would indicate that whilst it is a complex issue and has been delayed further by Covid, support has been secured to progress this.
    • Assistant Director General, Bryan Barry joined the meeting to update all on the submission of the 2021 pre-Budget proposals.
    • Current financial supports available and details, as known at time, re. FGLS / SBCI.
  • Separate teleconferences with AIB, BOI and Ulster Bank re. supports for farmers impacted by Covid:
    • IFA continues to update banks on current issues and future problems facing agri-sector due to Covid-19, weather and Brexit.
    • Both IFA and the banks agreed the need to extend the deadline of first time application approval for 3 month breaks from 30thJune, as the impact on some farmers is only beginning to be felt and this may result in some falling into the non-performing loan category. Both agreed to apply pressure. Extension was achieved – pushed out to 30th
    • Aspects in Programme for Government and IFA’s draft pre-budget proposals e.g. the Rainy Day Fund – support from banks for latter due to volatile nature of farming.
  • Future Growth Loan Scheme (FGLS) / Covid Credit Gurantee Scheme (CCGS) – the details continue to be developed and change constantly. As of today’s date:
    • The terms of the second phase of the FGLS currently appear to be more expansive and inclusive than in phase one, allowing for greater flexibility in usage, therefore potentially more applicable to the agri sector.
    • CCGS is less likely to be the first option for the majority of farmers, due to the eligibility criteria and interest rates.
    • Despite formation of Government, there is concern that these schemes are still being designed and no closer to launching.

Upcoming Issues

  • IFA’s pre-budget 2021 – to be submitted
  • Maintaining pressure on newly formed Government to ensure that the CCGS and FGLS are made available as soon as possible; with unrestrictive eligibility criteria and facilitating working capital, investment and credit issues.
    • Further meetings with banks to continue to get and provide feedback regarding ongoing finance issues.

 

Chair Rose Mary McDonagh
Acting Executive Eleanor Ryan

Activity since last National Council

  • The National Public Health Emergency Team and Health Protection Surveillance Centre provided the following report on the 1stJuly 2020:
    • A total of 1,738 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.
    • A total of 25,477 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.
    • The COVID-19 Dashboard provides the most up-to-date information on the key indicators of COVID-19 in the community.
  • The following is an update on the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).
No. of people in receipt PUP

(23rd June)

No. of people in receipt of PUP (30th June)
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Mining & Quarrying 6,100

 

5,700
  • The number of people that closed PUP is as follows:
No. that closed PUP

(23rd June)

No. that closed PUP

(30th June)

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Mining & Quarrying 400

 

300

 

  • A farmer must close their claim for the PUP payment on the actual date that they start to trade or go back to work. To stop payment you can either contact DEASP Income Support Helpline for COVID-19 on 1890 800 024 or go online by clicking here.
  • The following updates relate to Health and Safety:
    • There have been 14 farm fatalities officially recorded by HSA to date. To keep up to date on farm fatalities click here.
    • IFA is finalising preparing for this year’s Farm Safety Week, which will take place from the 20th to 24th July. The overarching theme for the week will be – It’s Time to Take Safety Seriously.
    • The HSA will be carrying out a second Farm Safety inspection campaign, which will run from 13th July to 24th July to coincide with Farm Safety Week. These will be outdoor inspections respecting social distancing and respecting COVID-19 protocols at all times. The focus of the HSA campaign will be Tractor/Vehicle Safety, particularly as they affect children and the elderly.
    • IFA is sponsoring the #openyoureyestofarmsafety competition, which is an initiative that was developed by a group of students and their teachers at Nenagh CBS in North Tipperary, who have been deeply and personally affected by farm accidents. Click here to watch the video. To enter the competition, answer the five questions that relate to the video correctly to be in with a chance of winning one of ten €500 prizes. To enter the competition, click here.
    • A revised National Mental Health policy, Sharing the Vision – a Mental Health Policy for Everyone for the period 2020-2030 has been launched. For more information click here.
    • A new 24/7 mental health support text line has been launched in the crisis. To avail of the service text HELLO to 50808. 50808 provides a safe space where a person is listened to by a trained Crisis Volunteer. For more information clickhere.
    • IFA has established a Mental Health Working Group to see how the Association can improve the supports and training available for officers, members and staff. Work is ongoing to develop a plan.
    • The Farming Resilience webpage continues to provide practical support to farm families on how to maintain both personal and business resilience.
  • The Department of Health responded “that further progress on the development of the Bill has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy team overseeing the Nursing Homes Support Scheme is now focused entirely on responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19 in nursing homes. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is a national and public health priority at this time”.
  • There was a Farm Family & Social Affairs committee meeting on 6th June, topics discussed included: farm safety, Fair Deal, mental resilience, Safeguarding Ireland and development of an online directory of services for farm families.

Upcoming issues

  • IFA will be presenting to the National Safeguarding Advisory Committee (NSAC) on 20th July on the main issues for vulnerable people living in rural Ireland.
  • Finalising and implementing the plan for Farm Safety Week (20th to 24th July).
  • Hosting a Management committee meeting.

Farm Safety

Proposed Ban on Lead Ammunition

  • European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has, at the request of the European Commission (EC), prepared a report proposing a ban on the types of shooting within a wetland or where spent ammunition would land within a wetland.
  • The alternative to lead ammunition is steel ammunition. Steel ammunition when fired puts more pressure on the shotgun than lead, to make sure a shotgun can withstand the higher pressure and the shotgun is safe to use the gun would have to be re-proofed.
  • The EC revised proposal on the lead amunition over wetlands restriction, was discussed with a tentative vote by EU Member States on 23rd June 2020 at EU REACH Committee. The proposal is available here:

https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regcomitology/index.cfm?do=search.documentdetail&Dos_ID=19478&DS_ID=64660&Version=4

  • The written procedure vote started on the 24th  June with a duration of 21 days.

White Tailed Eagle Reintroduction Phase 2 Friday 26th June

  • 10 White Tailed Eagle chicks were imported by NPWS, into Ireland from Norway through Farrenfore Airport on Friday 26th.
  • Release cages have been built in Killarney National Park, Shannon Estuary and Lough Derg to accommodate the chicks.
  • The chicks will be fed in the release cages for approximately 6 to 7 weeks until they are fully fledged and will then be released.

Meeting with An Garda Siochana Wednesday 24th June

Items discussed and IFA’S proposals

Silencers/Moderator

  • IFA believes, that there is a legitimate and good reason for having a silencers/moderator in cases where a farmer needs or requires another individual to carry out vermin control.
  • Especially when it comes to the control of foxes, who spread neospora canis in breeding livestock.

Shooting Rights

  • The Commissioner guidelines states “written authorisation from the person entitles to grant the shooting rights must be provided is the Garda Superintendent requests him or her to do so”.
  • As it currently stands, when a farmer allows a Gun Club use his lands they are effectively granting them a “Bare Licence”. This is the lowest level of right that a landowner can grant to an individual to enable them to come on to the land to do a specific task i.e. shooting in this particular case.
  • This licence can generally be revoked on very short notice.  If a landowner was to grant a “shooting right” this is something that in theory should be registered on the folio and indeed could be sold or transferred on to third parties.
  • IFA would like the “written authorisation from the person entitles to grant the shooting rights must be provided is the Garda Superintendent requests him or her to do so” changed to written authorisation from the person entitles to grant the permission must be provided is the Garda Superintendent requests him or her to do so.

The Transportation of Firearms and Ammunition

  • An allowance should be made to include crew cab, van-type jeep vehicles and tractors which are extremely commonly used by farmers and where it is not possible to have a firearm or ammunition immediately accessible to a driver or passenger.
Chair Caroline Farrell
Executives Farm Family – Geraldine O’Sullivan

Farm Safety – William Shortall

Activity since last National Council

Meeting

  • The Hill Committee met with the Department of Agriculture on June 11th to press for an extension of GLAS under EU transitional rules.

CAP Transition

  • With a GLAS extension being sought, the Hill committee got a commitment that the current arrangements the commonage plans would continue, and that payments would be maintained. IFA insisted that there would be no extra costs imposed on farmers including planning costs.

CAP post 2020

  • The Hill committee policy is that in the context of new environmental requirements that designated areas qualify for the new eco-scheme.
  • Also, in the context of carbon sequestration the last Hill committee agreed that a value be put on the extent that blanket bogs contribute to the environment and public good.

Locally Led Schemes.

  • At the recent meeting with the Department, IFA got an update on the locally led schemes, 9 of which are in Hill areas.
  • With all schemes now up and running, IFA got an assurance that the full allocation of €70m would be used up.
  • Payments are being made to all schemes, with €0.5m being paid out recently as part of the bonus payment in Hen Harrier areas.,
  • The Locally led schemes, of which 9 operate in Hill and Mountain areas, are worth around €10m per year.
  • IFA will be looking for many of these schemes to be extended and mainstreamed in the next CAP.

SACs

  • Following the increased allocation of €0.5m for the NPWS farm plan scheme, IFA has been pressing for an early start up.
  • The Scheme was advertised on the NPWS website and applications were invited. It is available to all farmers in designated areas.
  • 95 applications were received. These applications were assessed based on priority, habitat and species targeted, whether site was in a designated area, the significance of the site locally, regionally and nationally.
  • 78 applications were deemed of sufficient standard to take forward plans. Of these, 49 plans will be rolled out. The details of these plans have yet to be finalised.
  • An NPWS farm planner selection will take place, to be followed by draft plans being submitted.
  • IFA has called for the plans to be meaningful, with farmers getting payments which relate to restrictions and work to be carried out.
  • While payments initially will be small, IFA sees the introduction of the Scheme, which has been closed since 2010, as a stepping stone to full restoration of the Scheme.
  • With the new Government due to be formed, IFA will be pressing for a commitment that the NPWS farm plan scheme is fully restored.
  • Also, as part of IFA’s pre-Budget submission, we will be seeking that €10m is provided to the NPWS Farm Plan scheme for 2021.
  • In relation to the agreement on SAC implementation, there has been no further meeting as legal clarification was required by NPWS on aspects surrounding conciliation, arbitration and instances where compensation is being claimed.

Burning

  • IFA has raised concerns with the Department that farmers whose land was burned in April are not penalised.
  • This burning was in most cases not caused by farmers and unless the Department have proof then no farmer should have their payments withheld.
  • This issue will be monitored closely over the coming months.

Cochaired na Tuaithe

  • At a recent meeting of Comhaire na Tuaithe, a number of issues were dealt with including:
  • A review of the membership of CnaT. is currently taking place.
  • IFA will be insisting on strong farmer representation.
  • On dog control IFA is insisting that no dogs are allowed on trails.
  • A new countryside code is been developed with a booklet for all user of trails. IFA input is vital as some of the recreational bodies want greater freedom to roam.
  • A review of the walks scheme is also being undertaken.
  • The new Programme for Government commits to increase the number of walks.
  • 10 new walks are now included in the Walk Scheme as part of an extension which was secured by IFA in the Budget. This involves an additional 285 farmers.
  • The 10 new trails included in the first phase of the expanded Walks Scheme are:
County Name of Trail No. of landowners (approx.) Length on private land (approx.)
Clare East Clare Way 33 36.5 km
Galway Hymany Way 40 60 km
Kilkenny Gathabawn Loop Walk 4 2 km
Kilkenny Kilmacoliver Loop Walk 3 3 km
Laois Binninea Walk Cullahill 10 4 km
Leitrim Leitrim Way 120 24 km
Sligo Keash Hill Trail 3 1.8 km
Tipperary Ormond Way 49 31 km
Tipperary Multeen Way 16 9.4 km
Wicklow St Kevin’s Way 5 2.5 km

 

  • In Budget 2021 IFA will be insisting that the allocation of €4m is allocated and spent fully.
  • Currently there are 2,000 farmers in the Scheme, and with the additional walks this will increase to 4,000 and will be worth €4m annually.

 

Upcoming Events

  • National Hill Committee Meeting.           Aug 2020.
Chairman Flor McCarthy
Executive Gerry Gunning

Activity Since Last National Council

TAMS

  • IFA had a meeting with the Department of Agriculture on June 11th at which analysis took place on the current situation on TAMS.
  • At the close of tranche 17 closes on June 6th 5,000 farmers had applied. The selection process for these farmers will take place in the first half of July. There was a higher number in this tranche as the tranche had been extended by 6 weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions. IFA had already raised concerns in relation to this extension, as many farmers had expected to start work by mid-year for completion by next winter.
  • It is expected that 80% or about 4,000 farmers will get approval. IFA is insisting that there must be no delay in approvals being issued now.
  • IFA secured had secured a concession, that where a farmer does not have full planning permission at close of tranche 17 (June 6th) that the application will be still accepted but that full planning permission must be secured by time of selection assessment. Some farmers may have difficulty with this issue and IFA has raised this with the Department.
  • Pre-approval or pre-payment inspections had recommenced since mid-May and IFA has not had any reports of issues arising. About 5% of farmers are inspected.
  • Following the extension of 3 months to complete work IFA has asked the Department for flexibility to allow farmers more time where there are still issues with builders and contractors as some are not back at full capacity.
  • Tranche 18 opened on the June 7th and will close on Aug 7th.
  • So far in TAMS around 28,795 approvals have been issued to proceed but of these 5,000 have not commenced any work and are likely to forfeit their applications to the scheme.
  • Payments have been made so far to 14,962 farmers worth €212m. The average pay out per week is about €1.5m.
  • When the carryover allocation from TAMS 1 is taken into account, €223m has been spent out of the 2014 – 2020 RDP allocation of €395m.
  • In the 2020 Book of estimates, €82.5m is allocated, with about €38m paid out to date. There are probably 2 more tranches left with the scheme due to close on 31st Dec next. However, under EU transitional rules IFA will be looking for the scheme to continue into next year.
  • In Budget 2021 IFA will be seeking an allocation of €120m.
  • The Minister recently announced that the amendment to TAMS would be sought from Brussels to increase the investment limit for pigs and poultry from €80,000 to €200,000. An EU decision is awaited.

2020 BPS/ANC Schemes

  • At closing date for BPS 15th May around 129,000 had applied under 2020 scheme.
  • IFA will be insisting that maximum flexibility will be sought in the current circumstances to ensure all payments are made on time.
  • inspections have commenced following the conclusion of the pre checking arrangements in the 3rd week in June.
  • IFA has secured a commitment that any farmer whose file is out for inspection at payment time will not have his payment held up. In previous years this had held up payments.
  • The payment of BPS will commence on Oct 16th next with a 70% payment. The remaining 30% will be paid on Dec 1st.
  • In relation to ANCs, IFA are looking for 100% pay-out on the 3rd week of September.
  • There are no changes to the ANC Scheme for 2020. There have been some concerns raised with regard to the stocking rate criteria but there are no changes at this stage. Cases will be assessed on an individual level.
  • On overall stocking limit of 0.15LU/Ha for a 7- month period and the average of 0.15LU/HA over the 12 -month period.
  • The 2020 rates of payment do not change and the allocation is of the order of €250m.
  • The Department’s LPIS review is continuing in counties Meath, Cavan, Longford and Leitrim. Meetings have been deferred.
  • At the last Charter meeting in June IFA insisted that the review must not hold up payments.

ANC Appeals.

  • Of the 315 townlands which have appealed, 72 were successful with 22 townlands coming in for the first time.
  • The Department have now written to all farmers who appealed. However, for those that were unsuccessful they have not given any detail as to why they were excluded and are directing them to the Ombudsman. IFA has called on the Minister to provide this to farmers.
  • Areas that were successful having been previously excluded will get full payment restored this year. New areas will get full payment also. For those not successful having previously been in, they will qualify for a 40% payment in 2020 will get no payment in 2021.

GLAS

  • At this stage 47,315 farmer have got their full 2019 payment worth €202.1m. There are still about 1,200 due their balancing 15% payments. The Department have indicated to IFA that most of these have some problem with their plan. And will be paid out as problems are resolved.

EU Transitional Rules

EU Transitional proposals have now been passed by the European Parliament and EU Council and will now be finalised in trialogues. And passed into legislation later this month.

  • The Rural Development Committee will be focussing on getting an extension of GLAS 1 & 2 plans for at least another year or 2 (depending on agreement on the next CAP), TAMS, BDGP, Sheep Welfare, and ANC’s.
  • At the recent meeting with the Department, IFA set key principles for an extension which include a continuation of all measures and payments, a simple process to extend and that provision is given to allow new entrants and 2,000 AEOS farmers excluded to be allowed into the scheme.

Farm Assist/RSS Review

  • IFA has welcomed the Programme for Government commitment that a review of the Farm assist and the RSS scheme will take place.
  • A key issue will be the income assessment process with more flexibility been sought.
  • Currently there are 6,000 farmers on Farm assist and 3,200 on the RSS.
  • In Budget 2021 IFA will be seeking an increase in the farm income disregard from 30% t0 50%.

EU/COPA Developments on CAP

  • IFA is engaging with COPA and the EU commission on various aspects of CAP such as the transitional regulations, relaxation of BPS rules including inspections, applications dates and earlier payment dates for 2020 schemes.
  • Ongoing dialogue with the Department of Agriculture to ensure a case is made to Brussels on changes to GLAS, ANC and TAMS schemes.

Upcoming Events

  • The Rural Development Committee planning to meet the Department of agriculture once the transitional regulations are agreed later this month.
  • A further National Committee meeting (last one was on 25th June) will be held once details a emerge on the transitional arrangements.
Chairman Michael Biggins
Executive Gerry Gunning
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