National Council Reports October 2020

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National Council Reports October 2020

Market Report

  • Latest Beef Price Update: 05/10/2020. Steers €3.60/3.65. Heifers €3.60/3.70. Y bulls €3.50/3.80. Cows €3.00/3.50/kg. Prices steady.
  • Supplies. 33,753 cattle slaughtered this week, of which steers were 16,293 (48%), heifers 9,156 (27%), young bulls 1,290 (4%) and cows 6,359 (19%). Total YTD slaughter is 1,294,240 compared to 1,257,870 in 2019, a 2.9% increase.
  • Official Irish Prices. Week 39 (21/09/20 – 27/09/20) R3 steer €3.82/kg, Heifer R3 €3.94/kg. Y Bulls R3 €3.64/kg. Cows O3/R3 €3.12/3.32/kg.
  • GB Cattle Prices as reported by AHDB. The average GB R4L steer price for last week of £3.81/kg, equivalent to €4.40/kg incl. vat, down 2.8p/kg
  • EU Cattle Prices. W/e 26/9/20. R3 Y Bull, vat incl. equivalent, Italy €4.00/kg, Germany €3.83/kg, France €3.77/kg, Spain €3.51/kg, Poland €3.13
  • Beef Market Tracking:

  • Live Exports. 3,069 cattle were exported in the week commencing 21/9/2020. 1,388 to EU (Except NI). Live exports for 2020 amount to 222,456 compared to 256,653 in 2019.

 

50 million Beef Finishers Payment

  • Applications for BFP closed on Wednesday September 9th
  • 28,095 valid applications, 465,888 eligible animals. 548 applications under appeal.
  • Scheduled to be paid out in early November.

Beef Task Force update

  • Grant Thornton Studies
    • Competition Law Literary Review – Draft provided to Task Force meeting, published following observations and feedback
    • Independent Review of customer requirements – currently in drafting stage, expected to be completed in 3 to 4 weeks
    • Independent Review of price composition – awaiting further data, some delays due to Covid-19

IFA highlighted the need for urgency in completing all three studies. When all three studies are complete the Task Force will discuss them in detail

  • Market update
    • IFA raised the impact of BREXIT and the need for clarity for cattle finishers
    • IFA highlighted the need to ensure processing continued and the importance of maintaining good Covid-19 controls to avoid any disruption
  • PGI application
    • A revised application document was circulated to members. The revised document includes a number of changes in areas identified by IFA including; transport, distance from processing plant, flexibility on days grazing, times for silage/ hay making, assessment of colour and impact of this on eligibility. A proposed monitoring group structure for the PGI Brand was also presented, the proposal consists of 2 farmer representatives, 2 processor representatives, 1 DAFM and 1 Bord Bia Representative.
    • The Task Force agreed in Principle to submitting a PGI application with issues remaining to be resolved in advance of the next Task Force meeting scheduled for the 12th
    • The changes achieved address some of the issues raised by IFA however further clarity is required in particular in relation to the assessment of the colour, the point at which the animal is deemed to meet the PGI standard and need for including a reference to the 2-hour travel time. The proposed monitoring group must have more farmer representation and clarity is required to ensure how ownership/control of the brand rests with farmers. The PGI proposal does not include all animals while the Grass Fed Standard does, Young Bulls and P grade Steers and Heifers are not included or cows below O+ confirmation. In addition, fat scores below 2+ are not eligible for steers, heifers or cows and above 4+ for steers and heifers. The PGI should seek to include as many animals as possible. The issue of NI access to the brand must be resolved.
  • Suckler Brand
    • Bord Bia have committed €1m a year in funding for each of the next 3 years to develop a brand specific for suckler beef, build awareness and consumer demand for the brand even if the application for EU Funding is unsuccessful.
    • IFA acknowledge the commitment on funding as a good starting point in developing a brand that will recognize the additional benefits of beef derived from the suckler herd.
    • Key issues to be clarified include, ownership/control of the brand and how the brand will be supplemented/interact with the PGI status.
    • It is important the PGI and the suckler brand are not competing identities and that the suckler brand is supported by the PGI standard.

Activity since last Council

  • Livestock Management Committee Meeting.
  • Livestock Committee Meeting.
  • Meeting with MII on beef price.
  • Meeting with DAFM and Bord Bia on PGI.
  • Beef Taskforce Meeting.
  • Meeting with Ulster Farmers Union.
  • Campaign encouraging farmers to apply for Beef Finishers Payment.
  • Step-by-step guide and dedicated hub to aid farmers in BFP application.
  • Raised awareness of finished cattle sales options in marts.

Upcoming Issues

  • PGI application
  • Development of Suckler Brand
  • Cattle price.
  • DAFM Charter of Rights meeting.
  • Highlighting that BEEP-S weights and other optional measures must be submitted to ICBF by the 1st
  • EU Beef and Sheep update: Weekly report outlining market, main issues and action for distribution on website, app and via WhatsApp groups.
Chair Brendan Golden
Policy Executive Ann Daly
Senior Policy Executive Tomas Bourke

Milk Price

The Ornua PPI for August was 101.8 (29.4 c/L). This includes a 7c processing charge and does not include the Ornua Value Payment. This bonus amount to €3.4m for the month of August. Taking account of this, the IFA adjusted PPI amounts to 30.8 c/L, including VAT.

The Farmgate price paid for milk (3.6% fat and 3.3.% protein) for the 6 main milk processors ranged from 30.6 c/L to 31.5 c/L, including bonuses and VAT.

July August
Ornua PPI 101.7 101.8
Ornua PPI (c/L) 29.3 29.4
Ornua Value Payment €3.2m €3.4m
Adjusted PPI (c/L) 30.29 30.8

 

Processor PROTEIN €/kg c/L protein value FAT €/kg c/L fat value VOLUME CHARGE A+B-C Bonus VAT Standard price
DAIRYGOLD 5.73 19.48 3.50 12.99 4.00 28.47 0.65 1.57 30.69
KERRY 5.69 19.35 3.80 14.07 4.00 29.42 0.5 1.62 31.54
LAKELANDS 6.23 21.16 3.17 11.76 3.50 29.42 0 1.59 31.01
GLANBIA 5.98 20.33 3.60 12.31 4.00 28.64 0.42 1.57 30.63
AURIVO 5.94 20.20 3.46 12.82 4.25 28.77 0.65 1.59 31.01
ARRABAWN 6.27 21.33 3.10 11.48 3.35 29.46 0.2 1.60 31.26

Domestic supply has increased by 3.5% YTD. Global supply is also strong with growth at 1.5%. this is forecast to increase to 1.6 – 2% by year end. After the initial shock of lockdown and the closure of foodservice outlets, consumption has recovered and is only back about 2-5%. Demand has remained steady so far, but it assumed this is due to countries stockpiling rather than a critical demand for product.

Exports to date are ahead of last year and have already broke the €3bn mark. Prices paid for butter have reduced substantially. Exports to Great Britain are back 14%

As milk processors begin to set prices for milk supplied in September, we are seeking a milk price increase of 1c/L, especially from those that didn’t increase base price last month. Given stronger exports, reduced milk supply in the backend and the upcoming holiday season we feel that this petition is justified.

Brexit

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, tariffs for butter and cheddar would be €174/100kg and €153/100kg, respectively.

Activities

The dairy committee met with Sean Coughlan from ICBF

Dairy herd F% P% kgMS 6 week
2010 3.85 3.37 359 52%
2019 4.17 3.53 419 65%
  • Genomic bias came about over 2 main reasons
    • Females introduced into the training population in January
    • 19% of sires had a sire in the training population
  • Bias will be accounted for in the October run
  • Changes to EBI will be small for cows in the next EBI run
  • Almost impossible to get a daughter proven bull for fertility – bull would be 8-9 years old before enough proofs for fertility would be obtained.
  • Genomic predictions for milk production are better than genomic predictions for fertility.

Issues

The new veterinary medicines regulation is due to commence in January 2022. This will require all dairy farmers to adopt selective dry cow therapy (SDCT). Farmers will need considerable support during this transition from industry. The main points we will be lobbying for are:

  1. Assistance from AHI and milk processors to garner awareness on knowledge and to provide adequate training resources.
  2. Adequate capacity of milk recording companies to accommodate increased rates of milk recording.
  3. Easing of SCC penalties imposed by milk processors during the transition.
Chairman Tom Phelan
Executive Aine O’Connell

Market Review

 The Department’s Forest Division August Report:

  • 137 ha of new forests were established in August. The total afforestation programme so far in 2020 is 1,818 ha, this represents a decrease of 35% on the area planted by this date last year. As of August, €6,184,943 had been paid out under the Afforestation and Woodland Creation scheme.
  • €54,493,891 paid in forest premiums.
  • 69,315 linear metres of new forest road have been constructed year to date, this represents a 35% increase in linear metre constructed from this date last year. The total grant aid paid out under the Forest Road scheme is €2,797,124.
  • 121 new felling licence issued in August, to thin 1,175 ha and clearfell 1067 ha. The total licences issued so far in 2020 is 1,021 to thin 4,527 ha and clearfell 6,449. This is a 72% decrease on the number of licences that issued to date in 209.

Activity since last National Council

  • The Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 was signed into law by the President . The Act will enable the Forestry Appeals Committee (FAC) to sit in divisions to determine appeals, procedures and arrangements for conduct of appeals by the committee and the payment of fees in respect of appeals. The Act was passed thanks in part to the coordinated efforts made by forest owners through submissions and representation to TDs.
  • IFA issued a press release reiterating the need for a forestry appeals system that is fit for purpose in support of the amendment to the Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020.
  • IFA met with Minister Hackett to outline farmers frustrations with the current bureaucracy and costs associated with growing and managing trees. Other issues discussed; reform of the forest licences system, poor afforestation rates and farmers disaffection, replanting obligation, reintroduction of farmer premium differential, lack of compensation for forest owners affected by ash dieback, plant health risks, producer group support, implementation of the Mackinnion report, expansion of KTG’s, biomass supports and carbon credits
  • IFA Farm Forestry committee met on 17th September, topics discussed included recent meeting with Minister Hackett, forestry licence system, plant health and IFA/ESB compensation agreement.
  • IFA issued a press release to highlight risk to the health of the national forest estate due to timber shortages; a result of the forest licence crisis and the importation of logs from countries infected with bark beetle.
  • IFA wrote to the Department on the following issues:
    • To outline serious concerns for the health of the national estate following media reports of the importation of logs from Germany which has recorded a bad infestation of bark beetle.
    • Seeking a Frost Reconstitution Scheme for forest owners, the fluctuating winter temperatures have caused significant damage to plantations and has even affected well established trees.
    • To outline farmers frustration with the active discrimination against small forest owners as set out in the forestry licence project plan and to seek the introduction of a planning grant to assist farmers with the cost of applying for a licence.
  • IFA attended the first meeting of the COFORD Ecosystem Services Working Group, the objective of the group is to report on and promote the wider benefits of ecosystem services of forestry to the forest sector and society in support of increased afforestation, forest management and national forest policy.
  • Farm Forestry Management committee had online meeting with President to outline the pertinent issues impacting the sector including: forest licence and appeal system, ash dieback scheme and the implementation of the Mackinnon report.
  • IFA has written to Minister Hackett to request a formal meeting with official to outline proposals to reform the forest licence system and introduce additional income support measures under the Reconstitution & Underplanting scheme (RUS) for ash dieback.

 Upcoming issues

  • Intensify campaign to increase awareness of the issues in the forest licence system to adopt IFA’s proposals to ensure the prompt issuing of forestry licences.
  • To develop ash dieback income compensation model based in the TB compensation arrangements and other Department schemes.
Chairman Vincent Nally
Executive Geraldine O’Sullivan

Grain Market Update

With the grain harvest finished, growers have now turned their attention to planting. Average yield figures are not finalised but the total harvest will be somewhere in the region of 1.95m tonnes. It is likely that while oats tonnage is down slightly on last year, the real hit is on wheat and barley with total combined tonnage down over 400,000 tonnes on 2019.No final harvest prices have yet been issued by the trade but some are expected next week.

As always, the situation in the UK will affect our domestic market. The final UK wheat production figure has come in at approximately 10m tonnes which is 37% below last year. However, barley will still have to be exported from the UK. Nonetheless the price of wheat has helped demand for barley as it displaces it in feed rations.

The second week of September was the final date for the malting barley price model on the FOB Creil. The final settlement price for any malting barley supplied which was not forward sold is €173.73/t.

On the world market the figures from the US last week which indicated lower stock figures for wheat, maize and soya have led to a sustained rally in future prices. Demand from China and elsewhere also remains strong. Matif wheat futures are at two year high, driven by world demand and the continued dryness in the US and the Baltic areas which is affecting Winter wheat plantings.

Irish Native / Import Dried Feed Prices 06/10/2020

Spot €/t Nov 2020 €/t
Wheat 200 204
Feed Barley 177 179-182
Oats 160 160
OSR 380
Maize (Import) 200 195
Soymeal (Import) 385 385

Activity since last National Council

  • Due to the poor harvest conditions in the midlands and elsewhere the grain committee have asked Teagasc to do an impact assessment on yields. IFA also asked affected growers to send in details of poor yields to their local Teagasc or IFA offices.
  • Members of the grain committee again met grain merchants including Glanbia, to discuss issues in the sector, including the need to pay sustainable prices this harvest. The plight of growers with poor yields was emphasised.
  • IFA had further engagement with Boortmalt where derogations in relation to moisture and protein levels were secured.
  • IFA has again called on the new Government to support the tillage sector and have written to the new minister Charlie McConalogue requesting a meeting.
  • Covid 19 has continued to have a severe impact on the tillage sector, particularly on the feed and malting barley sectors. IFA have continued to raise the issue regarding potential supports for growers of malting barley who have been indirectly affected by continued closure of many pubs.
  • The grain committee continued discussions with the seed companies regarding derogations to ensure maximum intake of Irish seed.
  • A full meeting of the IFA grain committee took place online.
  • A number of IFA grain market reports were issued to all grain members to update on local and international harvest and market developments.
  • A Grain Newsletter was produced which went to all members.

EU/COPA developments

  • The Farm to Fork Strategy element of the European Green Deal is aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. At a recent COPA meeting the Grain Chairman Mark Browne 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 continued lobbying on proposed changes in the new CAP.
  • IFA wrote to all Irish MEP’s in relation to recognizing the Maximin residue level (MRL) agreed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for Flonicamid. The product is currently authorised for use in Ireland on cereals, potatoes, fodder beet, and oil seed rape for the control of insects. 

Upcoming Issues/Events

  • IFA will continue to lobby for supports to tillage farmers most affected by the weather and 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 with Bord Bia and IGAS on a labelling standard regarding the inclusion of native grains and will continue its campaign on greater inclusion of native grains in feed rations.
Chairman Mark Browne
Executive Patrick Farrell

Market Report

 It has been a mixed season for growers with difficult weather and harvest conditions compounded by the pandemic. Labour has certainly been the biggest challenge for growers in all sectors. This has led to a number of increased costs. Retailers have ignored repeated asks to increase farm gate prices in order to cover these unexpected costs. At the very minimum, input costs have increased by 15% due to the expense of implementing Covid related guidelines and the inefficiencies associated with the training of new seasonal workers and these costs are still in place as the country is in the midst of another wave of the virus.

Unfortunately, the food service sector is in turmoil as tighter restrictions are being imposed around the country. The demand for crops in this sector will disappear overnight and growers will feel the pinch once again. Demand for supplies of fresh produce going to retail remains strong. Growers have suffered losses and continued uncertainly continues.

Harvesting conditions were difficult in some parts of the country as ground conditions were very wet. Harvesting of root crops in particular has been affected and growers have reported losses.

Salad crops have finished off with a reasonable year as light levels averaged out quite good. Some losses were reported following the most recent weather event.

The strawberry season has finished on a less positive note as growers reported that crop yields reduces significantly almost overnight. Retailers need to understand the volatility of the Irish growing season especially when it comes to pack sizes. August was a very difficult month for growers and growers have experienced difficulties ever since. The return to school also impacted demand as families get back into routine. Labour supply was also affected as students returned to college.

Apple growers have had a reasonable season and yields have averaged out slightly better than expected. Prices have held quite well throughout the season.

Activity since last National Council

  • IFA participated in a Copa Cogeca working party meeting on Fruit and Vegetables. The main agenda items were, unfair trading practises, implications of Covis-19 and phytosanitary issues.
  • IFA is in contact with all retailers regularly in relation to stocking more Irish produce and reiterating the extra costs incurred by growers because of the current pandemic and adverse weather conditions. 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.
  • The issues relating to Peat Extraction are a major concern for the Amenity and mushroom sectors in particular and IFA have started a lobbying campaign with relevant ministers on the issue. An IFA delegation recently met with John Neenan from Growing Media Ireland to discuss the issues.
  • IFA continued to engage with government to ensure that horticulture workers can continue to be allowed into Ireland in accordance with EU guidelines. IFA’s media campaign continues to emphasise the critical importance for seasonal workers in horticulture.
  • IFA has been in contact with the HSE in relation to issues regarding cases of Covid 19 in the sector. We have emphasised that if farms producing fresh produce are forced to close for even short periods of time, it would result in that business being closed for good.
  • IFA continues to engage withDepartment of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on the initiative to recruit seasonal workers for the horticultural sector. However as expected the initiative has failed to recruit any significant number of workers.
  • IFA has contacted DBEI regarding reopening the pilot work permit scheme.
  • IFA continues 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.

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. There are some positive changes to the PO scheme which may be of some help to the four Producer Organisations currently in operation here.
  • IFA, along with Copa. Cogeca, are continuing their lobbying in Brussels regarding the reapproval and authorisation of a number of vital PPP’s.

Upcoming Events / Issues

  • IFA will meet with Minister Pippa Hackett on October 7th to discuss overarching issues in the horticultural sector.
  • Meetings will continue with retailers regarding the issues arising as a result of Covid 19 etc and to ensure Irish produce is stocked ahead of imports.
  • IFA will be seeking a meeting with Minister Leo Varadkar regarding reopening the work permit scheme.
  • IFA will be stepping up its lobbying campaign in relation to the peat issue and calling for an immediate meeting of the proposed new consultation group on the issue.
  • The proposed EU Green Deal contains more threats than opportunities for the Irish horticulture sector. IFA will highlight these issues at government level and demand a full impact assessment of the proposals in the Deal.
  • IFA will continue its work regarding the retention of key PPP’s.
Chairman Paul Brophy
Executive Patrick Farrell

Milk Price

Farmers are now commencing negotiations for this winter’s liquid milk price with milk processors that offer annual contracts. These farmers are seeking a price rise in the region of 1-2c/L

Remaining milk processors have set contracts for multiple years.

Activities

Retailers have been contacted to seek bilateral meetings to discuss the tight margins endured by liquid milk farmers.

Upcoming Issues

Reports of reduced retail prices of everyday staples in the large multiples is of grave concern. Any reduction in the retail price of milk will undermine the true cost of its production.

 

Chairman Keith O’Boyle
Executive Aine O’Connell

Pig Market Report

Irish Pig Price Stabilises but EU Markets in Turmoil

After the initial price reduction of 32c/kg during April-June the Irish pig price has remained relatively stable at €1.60-€1.62/kg over the past number of weeks. The main development in the pig world market has been the devastating announcement of ASF positive cases in wild boar in Germany. Initially only one case was reported but increased testing of wild boar in the rural region of Brandenburg state has seen the number of positive cases rise to over 40. While ASF has been in circulation in the wild boar population in neighbouring Poland for the past four years, and this is the first incident of ASF positive in Germany, which is the EU’s second largest producer and exporter of pork, behind Spain. The immediate response of the German pig market was to drop the price by 20c/kg, down to a low price of €1.27/kg and this is where the price remains for the German pig farmers, at least 20c/kg below the cost of production. The response of many importer nations was immediate and devastating with China, Philippines, Korea, Vietnam among others, all announcing that all pork and pig products from the entire country of Germany were no longer approved. This move has caused a huge disturbance in the EU and worldwide pigmeat markets. China remains severely deficit in pigmeat as Germany accounted for up to 15% of total Chinese pork imports over the past year, the loss of this channel has resulted in South American exporter countries, Brazil and Argentina, experiencing an increase in demand from China and other Asian buyers.

What does all this mean for Irish pig prices?

Ireland is an island on the edge of Europe. We have a number of advantages in the battle to keep ASF free. Restricted travel and movement due to Covid-19, no significant wild boar population, and a very structured and highly bio secure pig farming sector will all help to keep Ireland free from ASF. The Department of Agriculture and the National Disease Control Centre (NDCC) have played an important role in keeping the message regarding the threat of ASF in the minds of travellers into the country and among the pig keepers.

On the positive side, the worldwide outlook for pigmeat remains very positive, with the fundamentals of the world market remaining unchanged since pre-Covid times. The African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks in Asia, particularly China have removed up to 25% of the worlds pig production herd. This is a huge deficit in pigmeat and will not be filled quickly and the underlying demand from countries such as China will underpin any good international trade for pigmeat over the next 3-5 years.

Roscrea back into China

The news that the largest pig processor in Ireland, Rosderra has regained approval for its Roscrea plant to export to China is great news for the entire industry and it should result in increased stability and improved pig prices in the run up to the year end.

EU Green Deal, “Farm to Fork”

Pig farmers have faced plenty of challenges over the recent number of years, including reduction in antibiotics, ban on zinc oxide, consumer and retailer demands, African Swine Fever, and higher animal welfare interpretations.  As if there weren’t enough challenges already, soon pig producers in Europe also face the EU’s ‘Green Deal’.

A summary of the targets of this action for 2030 are:

  • To reduce the use of chemical and more hazardous pesticides by 50%;
  • To reduce nutrient losses by 50% and fertiliser use by 20%;
  • To reduce antimicrobial sales for farm animals by 50%;
  • To increase farmland dedicated to organic farming to 25%.

There are many challenges in this new food strategy but with challenges come opportunities. IFA Pigs Committee are working alongside both Teagasc Pig Department and DAFM to explore possible opportunities for the Irish pig sector to get some competitive advantages in marketing of “Irish Pigmeat” and opportunities to incorporate the pig production system into the circular economy in a recognised and sustainable manner.

Chairman Thomas Hogan
Executive Robert Malone

As wet weather conditions set in across the country, growers face additional challenges and liftings will be set back in some areas. Retail demand remains quite strong however the food service sector has experienced another blow as stricter lockdown measure are imposed for the entire country.

In the U.K. trade remains generally subdued. Packing Maris Piper seems to be the only material making any kind of traction. Liftings are reported to be continuing at pace with growers trying to get some complete in the next week. Clearance is 50 to 75% in the South and the Midlands with more growers starting to clear but, in the Fens, and Lincolnshire progress is only 20 to 30%. In Scotland, lifting of ware crops is “60%” complete.

Recent estimates the total production in the E.U. 27 is expected to be 54.8mt’s compared to 51.23mt’s last year and 56.38mt’s in 2017. Physical markets across Europe remain broadly unchanged with processors still only taking very light volumes of free buy.

Low High Average
Rooster box (New Season) €380 €430 €400
Rooster 10 kg (New Season) €4 €5 €4.50
New Season Queen 10kg bag €5 €7 €6
New Season Kerr Pinks €5.50 €6.50 €6

Activity since last Council

  • National Potato Day took place on Friday October 2nd. This year’s event was based online and involved social media activities based on cooking potato dishes and promoting the nutritional benefits of potatoes.
  • Following an extensive lobbying campaign, IFA successfully secured a derogation for the emergency use of Diquat.
  • The IFA planted acreage survey is almost complete. DAFM preliminary BPS area figures show potato area similar to 2019. Reports from growers indicate that yields appear to be average or just below average.
  • 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 continue to engage with DAFM on this.
  • The second activation of the new EU Potato Promotions Campaign is now underway. A number of influencers are onboard and they will showcase their cooking skill and the versatility of potato dishes to their millennial audiences. IFA has been involved in meetings of the Potato Promotion group to launch the new EU potato promotion campaign the website can be found on https://www.potato.ie/

EU/COPA developments

  • IFA, along with Copa.Cogeca, are continuing their lobbying in Brussels regarding the reapproval and authorisation of a number of vital PPP’s.
  • 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.

Upcoming Activity/Events

  • IFA will continue to demand that packers and retailers pay sustainable potato farm gate prices.
  • IFA will continue to contact growers to ensure they are aware of the costs of production.
  • Potato Promotions – The second activation of the potato promotions is now underway; more details are on https://www.potato.ie/.  Growers have received a letter to support this initiative. Growers contribute 20% of the funding but this will be matched by 80% co-funding from the EU.

There will be further interaction with DAFM regarding the inclusion of haulm toppers and potato storage equipment under TAMS.

Chairman Thomas McKeown
Executive Patrick Farrell

Market Report

Broilers

Broiler production remains constant at around 2 million broilers every week.  Demand for poultry has gained from the shift away from foodservice towards the main retailers in 2020 due to Covid restrictions. This demand has led to increased demand from retailers, to the countries three broiler processors, but unfortunately price sensitivity has not seen this increased demand be transformed into increased production or improved chicken wholesale prices as yet. The IFA Poultry Committee will undertake a mission to engage with all retailer players and processors to attempt to pressurise the market to transform this increased consumer demand into actual increased throughput and margins for broiler farmers.

Egg Production

Following 14 confirmed outbreaks of LPAI, in the Co Monaghan region, circa 550,000 laying hens were culled in March-May 2020. This left a shortfall of eggs on 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 egg all meet the Lion Standard and have been temporarily 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 now almost fully complete.

The IFA Egg Committee, part of the IFA Poultry Committee, has a job of work to carry out in the immediate weeks to ensure that all Irish retailers reaffirm their 100% commitment to Bord Bia Quality Assured eggs as soon as possible.

Egg Price Campaign

IFA has started a campaign to get all processors 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.  Egg farmers have not received any significant increase in their egg price for over 15 years, and despite gains in genetic and management efficiency, margins are being eroded away to the point of unsustainability.

Poultry Working Group

The Poultry Working Group (PWG) is an industry group which was set up to deal with the impending disastrous situation of Low Pathogenic Avian Infleunza (LPAI) and its effect on the Irish poultry sector in 2020. While the loss of over 500,000 poultry birds to LPAI in March-May of 2020 was a hammer blow to a small but very important reginal agriculture sector which has proven itself to be economically viable with very limited national or EU financial supports. This newly formed group, of which IFA is a member, represented by IFA Poultry Chairman, Andy Boylan, has been proactive in providing industry sourced funding to assist in tackling LPAI outbreaks in a timely manner. Broiler groups contributed to this fund which provided financial assistance to farmers to cull LPAI positive flocks, to prevent the disease spreading further.

PWG Disease Compensation Fund Proposals

The PWG has made a draft proposal to tackle further disease incidents such as LPAI in the future. It involved setting up a levy, to create a fund, which would be used to cover losses and expenses associated with certain disease outbreaks in the commercial poultry sector. Then proposal is based on international research and similar systems are operated across mainland Europe. These proposals will involve contributions from farmers and must be fully explained and discussed with all those vested interested before moving forward. Ongoing dialogue on the proposal are underway between the PWG and farmers presently.

PWG Funded Industry Economic Report

During a funding call to industry stakeholders, the PWG decided to request funding for an economic report on the poultry sector. Unlike the Irish beef and dairy sector, information is not readily available as to the overall contribution that the poultry sector makes to the national economy, in terms of employment and output. While relatively small in terms of numbers of farmers in the sector, it is a very viable sector with opportunities for future growth.  The PWG commissioned Professor of Economics from UCC, Thia Hennessey to compile the report. This is due to be launched in mid-September and will highlight the importance, especially in certain regions of Ireland, of our most undervalued agricultural sector.

Chairman Andy Boylan
Executive Robert Malone

Market Report

  • Lamb Price Update: 05/10/2020. Prices steady. In general QA lambs €5.20/5.30. Producer groups on more. Weights up to 22kg. Ewes €2.60/2.80. Factories more anxious for lambs. 
  • Supplies: Wk 39 (21/09/2020 – 27/09/2020). 61,206 sheep were slaughtered at Sheep export premises w/c 21/9/2020 compared to 66,643 in the same week 2019. Sheep slaughtering’s for 2020 are 6.1% up on 2019 at 2,120,732 head.
  • Live Trade: Total live exports stood at 23,749 head to the middle of September.
  • Select and Sell: In selling, select carefully and avoid over weight and under finished lambs. It is important to move lambs as they become fit to avoid penalties.
  • GB Lamb Prices as reported by AHDB: Lamb price for last week was £4.63/kg, which is equivalent to €5.36kg incl. vat.
  • IFA publish lamb price updates twice weekly and all of the latest data is available at ifa.ie
  • Weekly kill data:

Activity Since last Council

  • Met with DAFM on key issues for the sheep sector including, the rollover and enhancement of the sheep welfare scheme, the €30/ewe targeted support scheme, setting up a sheep industry working group, live lamb importation figures from NI, lamb originating outside NI, Market access, trade deals, Brexit, TRQ, Covid-19, dog control, the wool market.
  • Met with MII to discuss the base price and the enhancement of the Quality Assurance scheme.
  • Met with Teagasc to discuss the economic, environmental and social contributions of the Irish sheep sector.
  • Weekly publication of IFA Beef and Sheep Update and update of IFA What’s app groups on a weekly basis.

Upcoming issues

  • Continue discussions with DAFM on rollover and enhancement of the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
  • Continue lobbying for the €30/ewe targeted support scheme.
  • Follow up on meeting with DAFM.
  • Organising meeting with Sheep Ireland.
  • Follow up meeting with Teagasc.
  • Setting up of a Sheep Industry Working Group.
  • Ongoing discussion with DAFM on dog control and the wool market.
  • Ongoing contact with DAFM, Bord Bia, Sheep Ireland and lamb factories on various sheep issues.
Chairman Sean Dennehy
Policy Executive Anna Daly
Senior Policy Executive Tomas Bourke

TB

  • Following IFA’s successful campaign of highlighting farmers rejection of the Herd Risk TB Letter’s the Minister for Agriculture convened the TB Forum.
  • The Minister directed DAFM officials to engage in bilateral meetings with farm orgs to discuss the details of a TB programme.
  • IFA have welcomed this approach, but have pointed out the real work of agreeing a programme that reduces TB levels and the impact of TB controls on farms is now only starting.
  • The DAFM will issue a draft TB Strategy in advance of discussions taking place.
  • IFA have set out the three key pillars that must form the basis of the new TB programme; Wildlife Control, On-farm investigation and financial supports for farms impacted by controls.
  • IFA informed the Minister and the Forum the TB Herd Risk letters are unacceptable and must be stopped including the use of the new categorisation codes in correspondence with farmers.
  • These letters are to be discussed in the bilateral meetings.

Latest TB Figures

BVD

  • Discussions are on-going to establish the direction of the programme based on the requirements set out in the EU Animal Health Law Delegated Act.
  • IFA have set out the need for full impact assessment and costing to ensure the programme that will be developed is fully resourced prior to finalisation.

Latest Weekly Figures

Veterinary Medicines

  • IFA continue to pursue the facilitation of Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP) prescribing Antiparasitic Products.
  • IFA have 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.
  • IFA are progressing the development of a disposal system for farmers for unused veterinary medicines and containers.
Chair Pat Farrell
Policy Executive Anna Daly
Senior Policy Executive Tomas Bourke

UK left EU on 31st January 2020

  • UK leaves Single Market and Customs Union on 31st Dec 2020 & will not seek extension
  • Two possible outcomes to EU-UK negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement from January 2021:
    • No deal – significant risk: trade on WTO terms, ie EU agri-food exports to GB would face prohibitive tariffs. To maintain food supplies, UK would probably introduce tariff-free quotas, but EU exports would then be in direct competition with third countries, prices would fall and the value of the UK market would be substantially reduced.
    • Limited FTA – at best: if both sides decide this is preferable to no deal.
      • FTA on goods only – possibly zero tariffs & zero quotas with no deal on services
      • May be unstable as UK tries to negotiate other trade deals and/or undercut EU.
      • EU reserves right to apply retaliatory tariffs and/or quotas in response to unfair competition.
    • Comprehensive FTA is impossible due to UK’s unwillingness to remain aligned to EU standards.

Preparedness

  • Major changes from 1st Jan 2021: longer delivery times, increased administration and costs
  • Government has launched Brexit Readiness Action Plan and ramped up publicity campaign for business and traders
    • Customs checks & Controls: new EU and GB controls on imports from GB and EU
    • Regulatory compliance checks: on imports by EU and UK authorities
    • Rules of origin: these define the maximum amount of a good that can come from outside a free trade area. Goods imported into the EU from the UK will have to demonstrate their originating status to qualify under a future FTA or be subject to tariffs
    • VAT: due on imports into the EU
  • UK Landbridge implications for Irish food exports
    • Dublin-Calais
      • Landbridge RoRo takes 20 hours
      • Direct ferry RoRo 40 hours
      • Direct ship LoLo 60 hours
    • Deal or no deal, serious disruption at cross-Channel ports is likely due to low levels of trader/haulier readiness and additional customs checks in France.
      • In worst-case scenario, UK government estimates 30-50% of trucks would not be ready, traffic could be reduced by 20-40%, and 7,000 trucks could be held up in Kent for up to two days, with the disruption lasting up to three months
    • EU draft agreement will give Irish food exports access to “green lanes” on arrival from the UK into continental EU ports to speed up their progress.
      • There is no UK agreement to allow Irish trucks avoid tailbacks on the UK side.

UK legislation to override NI Protocol (part of Withdrawal Agreement)

  • UK seriously damaged Irish and EU trust by introducing UK Internal Market Bill and expected Finance Bill to allow Ministers decide which goods shipped from GB to NI would be subject to tariffs due to risk of entering RoI/EU, issues around EU state aid rules and export declarations.
  • UK move also badly received in US, with Democratic leaders warning that they were prepared to block a US-UK trade deal
  • EU has launched legal action against the UK over its legislation, which would break international law, however negotiations are continuing as the EU does not want to be accused of walking out.
  • EU position is there will be no FTA without full respect for the NI Protocol & WA

 

NI Protocol

  • Part of WA
  • Purpose is to avoid a hard border in Ireland
  • Takes effect 1st Jan 2021, deal or no deal
  • Requires EU Customs and SM rules to apply to all goods entering NI from GB
    • EU tariffs to apply, unless 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 processes.
    • UK says NI businesses will have unfettered access to GB, – has not set out how NI and RoI goods are to be identified.

 

EU-UK Negotiations on Future Relationship

  • No real progress on key issues for EU: Level Playing Field, Fisheries & Governance.
    • LPF – EU wants agreement on state aid and standards in agri-food, environment, climate change, taxation, etc. UK wants independence & rejects alignment with EU rules.
    • Fisheries – EU wants a balanced, long-term solution. UK wants annual negotiations
    • Governance – EU wants agreed governance and dispute resolution mechanisms comprehensive agreement covering all areas, rather than a series of stand-alone agreements
  • 3rd Oct, UK and EU agreed to intensified negotiations, likely to run to end-Oct or early Nov.

 

Other developments

  • Mairead McGuinness appointed EU Commissioner-designate for Financial Services, a significant area in future EU-UK relationship
  • EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve worth €5bn (separate to CAP)
    • To cover adverse consequences in member states & sectors worst hit by Britain leaving EU
    • Commission to bring forward proposals in November.
    • President has made it clear that Irish agriculture must benefit substantially from this fund.
  • UK trade negotiations with US, Australia & New Zealand
    • Japan deal agreed to replace EU-Japan FTAreportedly UK has agreed to tougher restrictions on state aid than what it is offering the EU
    • US trade deal unlikely this year
    • Former Australian PM Tony Abbott appointed as UK advisor
    • UK cabinet reportedly divided over access for hormone-fed beef, chlorinated chicken
    • Government rejected Tory amendments to Agriculture Bill – would have required food imports to be produced to same standards applying to British farmers
  • 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 91p)
  • GB Border Controls for EU Goods: to be introduced in 3 stages. (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

 

EU negotiating mandate (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 sector[1].
  • EU reserves right to apply autonomous measures to react quickly to unfair competition.

 

IFA Position

  • 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 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.

See detailed draft policy paper IFA Brexit Emergency Plan on Irish and EU support measures.

 

Bryan Barry
Association Secretary

MFF 2021 – 2027

  • On July 22nd, the EU Council agreed a recovery package for Europe due to the Economic turmoil arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and a 7-year Multi Financial Framework (MFF). The total package is worth €1.8trillion.
  • The Package includes a revised MFF for the next 7 years of €1,074bn (Constant Prices) or €1,210bn (Current Prices) and a Next Generation EU Recovery and Resilience Fund of €750bn.
  • The agreed MFF conclusions adopted by the European Council are been discussed in the European Parliament. MEPs have so far not accepted the deal and instead tabled a resolution stating that the Parliament want to “engage immediately in constructive negotiations with the Council to improve the proposal”.  The Parliament have until the first session in October to pass the deal in order for legislation for the new Budget to be in place for 1st January 2021.
  • The new proposal involves a slight increase in CAP funding from the original Commission proposal but is still a decrease from the EU CAP Budget 2014-2020 at Constant 2018 prices of around 10%.
  • Included in the CAP is €7.5bn from the Next Generation EU (NGEU) Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). This funding is added to Pillar 2 funding and must be committed by Dec 2023 and payments made by Dec 2026. It will be incorporated in Member States CAP Strategic Plans.

MFF / CAP Outcome

Constant 2018 prices €bn 2014-2020 MFF     (EU27) Agreed MFF &CAP

2021- 2027

 

% reduction at Constant prices 2014-2020

MFF

(Ireland)

2021-2027

MFF

(Ireland)

Current Prices

%

Change

 

 

MFF size, EUR billion 1,082 1,074 -0.7%
Agriculture 382.8 343.94 -10.1% 10.68 10.73 0.5%
EAGF  – Pillar 1 286.1 258.59 -9.6% 8.489 8.2575 -2.7%
EAFRD- Pillar 2  inc €7.5bn from NGEU-RD) 96.7 85.35 -13.1%  

2.189

 

2.454

 

12.1%

CAP

% Share of MFF

35.3% 32%

Note: Budget figures are presented by the Council in Constant 2018 prices and in Current Prices. Constant prices account for inflation and allow for a direct comparison between the current CAP funding and the proposed CAP funding via the new MFF. The higher Current prices do not take account of inflation.

  • Following the conclusion of the talks, the Taoiseach pointed out that there was an increase in the CAP Budget from €10.68bn to €10.73bn, in current prices.
  • Of the overall MFF EU 27 allocation of €258.9bn for Pillar 1, Direct Payments make up €239.9bn and market related measures are worth €18.678bn.
  • The former Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary had indicated that the reduced budget would lead to a 3% reduction in BPS from 2021 onwards.
  • On Pillar 2, which suffered a greater cut, the fact that national co- financing can increase means that overall funding for Rural Development plans can be greater provided the level of national co-financing is maximised..
  • The level of co-financing required for Pillar 2 is a national decision and has been set at 43% EU and 57% national funding. Overall this is a major change compared to the last programming period when in Ireland’s case the level of co-financing was 54% EU and 46% national.
  • However EU co-financing rate can increase to 80% for environment, climate, and other management requirements. IFA will be seeking a 57%/43% split.
  • Ireland’s Pillar 2 funding was boosted by €300m in the negotiations along with 14 other member states. The criteria for this related to the historical investment by some member states in Pillar 2 expenditure. Also, the fact that €7.5bn from the NGEU fund was taken from Pillar 2 (€15bn had originally been proposed by the Commission in May), as well as the issue of external convergence where some old member states will lose out.
  • The breakdown of proposed CAP at current prices for Ireland for the next 7 years would be €8.2575bn for Pillar 1 and €2.454bn for Pillar 2.
  • On an annualised basis this would lead to an EU allocation of €1,179 m for P1 and €351m for P2.
  • With maximum co-financing this could leave a 7-year RDP worth €5.713bn compared to €4.1bn in the last period.

Other issues

  • Capping is proposed on a voluntary basis and is set at €100,000 but only relates to the Basic Income Support Scheme (BISS) which excludes Eco Schemes. Labour costs can also be deducted.
  • 30% of CAP Rural Development funding from Recovery Fund funding must be allocated to Climate change measures and overall CAP expenditure ( P1+P2) dedicated to climate action is expected to be 40%.
  • External convergence accelerated – effectively moving funding from Western EU countries to newer Member States with 50% of the difference up to 90% of BPS being made up. The minimum payment in 2022 in these countries will have to be €200/ha and by 2027 it will have to be €215/ha. This should not impact on Ireland as our average payment is €260/ha which is more or less equal to the EU average.
  • A crisis reserve of €450m has been set up which will carry from one year to another if it’s not spent.

CAP Transition

  • As the Budget is progressing it will mean that under EU CAP transition rules various farm schemes will operate in 2021 under “the new money old rules criteria” as the details of the next CAP will not be finalised for either one or two years.
  • This will impact on BPS as the reduced Budget will mean a cut payments next year.
  • On Rural Development for schemes such as GLAS, TAMS, ANC’s, Sheep Welfare and BDGP, funding will be taken from the next programming period and will reduce the next plan to either 5 or 6 years, depending on the length of the transition. Unspent funding from the current programme can be carried forward.
  • On internal convergence a decision on this will have to be made before next years’ payment application in the spring.
  • DAFM pointed out at a meeting on the Transition that it could be December before an EU agreement is reached. IFA is concerned that this will lead to a very short timespan to get GLAS plans extended.

Update on Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan

  • The Department of Agriculture have done a SWOT Analysis and Needs Assessment in preparation for Irelands next CAP Strategic Plan.
  • IFA have made presentations to the CAP Consultative Committee and President Tim Cullinan outlined 6 key priorities at a meeting in June.
  • Priorities will be finalised in the autumn, to be followed by the measures and interventions that are necessary for the CAP Plan (which includes Pillar 1 and Pillar 2).
  • Under the German Presidency, it is expected that there will now be an acceleration in discussions on the details of the next CAP.
  • Among the critical issues for IFA will be: Convergence, Eco Schemes (the European Commission will provide examples of Eco Schemes in Q4 this year in consultation with member state authorities), Young Farmer Measures, definition of genuine farmer and the various rural development measures.
  • At a recent COPA meeting it was pointed out that the Commission may look for a minimum percentage of P1 for Eco schemes. This is contrary to earlier proposals from the Commission that it is up to Member States to decide.
  • IFA has set a target that Direct Payments (both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2), should increase from the current annual level of €1.8bn to €2bn in the next CAP post 2020.
  • The REPS type scheme which is proposed in the Programme for Government and funded from carbon tax was promised as a separate scheme to any CAP supported measure. IFA has insisted that this remains the situation and that the carbon tax cannot be used as a replacement for national co-financing funding. The scheme must be additional to agri-environment schemes in Pillar 2 and Eco schemes in Pillar 1.

Brexit Fund

A Brexit Adjustment Reserve worth €5bn has been set aside to cover adverse consequences in member states and sectors that will be worst hit by the Britain leaving the EU on Jan 1st next. The Commission will be bringing forward proposals in November as to how this will apply. It would be expected that Ireland as a country most affected by Brexit will benefit from this fund. This fund sits outside the MFF and does not impact on CAP funding.

Next CAP Project Team Meeting

A meeting of the CAP Project Team will take place on October 14th. At this meeting EU Commission official Pierre Bascou will outline the up to date situation on CAP and the timelines as regards the legislative framework and the CAP transitional arrangements.

IFA Director of European Affairs Liam MacHale
Policy Executive Denis Griffin

Activity since last National Council

IFA has written to RTÉ on numerous occasions since the airing of What Planet Are You On? and the publication of the emissions guide. In our correspondence we outlined our serious concerns in relation to the sweeping statement made in the programme as well as questioning the scientific basis of the emissions guide. In each of our correspondence we requested that the purported emissions guide is removed from the website. IFA queried that the figures in the peer reviewed Poore and Nemecek study accurately reflect Irelands low emissions food production model. A number of options were investigated to respond to the programme as well as the emissions guide; (i) IFA sought legal opinion in relation to the basis of the emission guide content and (ii) had online meeting with Teagasc to review the research that has been undertaken in Ireland to support IFA’s position. At the meeting it was agreed that Teagasc would (i) review the Poore and Nemecek study bearing in mind the research in Ireland and (ii) an article would be drafted based on Teagasc research on sustainability diet and the complex link between food, climate and health.

IFA responded to the article published in the Guardian newspaper “We’ve crossed a threshold”: has industrial farming contributed to Ireland’s water crisis”. In the response IFA highlighted the proactive approach being taken by farmers to address water quality challenges. The fact that farming is highly regulated and subject to a code of good agricultural and environment practice, nitrates regulations and on-farm sustainability audits. The response emphasised that the article was part of the Animal’s Farmed series funded by the Open Philanthropy Project.

Teagasc recently published an updated ammonia roadmap, also known as an Ammonia marginal abatement cost curve (MACC). It identifies key actions to curb the projected 9% increase in ammonia emissions by 2030, if no action is taken. Ireland is legally required to reduce ammonia emissions by 1% by 2020 and 5% by 2030, having exceed permitted levels since 2016. The report identifies 13 measures, which if implemented, by 2030 approximately 15,260 tonnes of ammonia could be abated on average each year. 80% of mitigation potential can be achieved by the full implementation of two measures – switching from traditional chemical fertilisers to protected urea formulations and switch from slurry application by the splash plate method to low emission slurry spreading (LESS) techniques such as a trailing shoe and hose.

  • 20% of ammonia mitigation is associated with increased use of protected urea. This involves the substitution of all straight urea and 50% of CAN based fertilisers for protected urea between 2021 and 2025.
  • 60% of ammonia mitigation potential identified comes from moving from using the splash method to application by low emission slurry spreading techniques (LESS).

IFA has written to Minister McConalogue and O’Brien requesting a meeting on the proposed changes to the nitrogen excretion rate and the timelines to increase the nitrogen excretion rate from the dairy cow from 85kg N/ha to 89kg N/ha. A response is pending.

The Climate Change Advisory Council published 2020 Annual Review. The report states that total GHG emissions in Agriculture & Land Use have increased relative to 2005. Even with policies and measures as set out in the Climate Action Plan, projections show limited progress towards emission reduction by 2040. The report recommends the following:

  • Recommends setting a separate target for biogenic methane emissions consistent with the objective of carbon neutrality.
  • CAP payments should support and encourage famers to reduce emissions, including reducing animal numbers and/or using their land more profitably.
  • Policy innovation to encourage and enable higher rates of afforestation and improved management of soil carbon including peatlands.
  • The role of farmers in the management of carbon stocks should be recognised and they should be incentivised to adopt measures and verifiable practices that sequester carbon.
  • Constructive engagement with the EU Farm to Fork strategy, with a focus on reducing GHG emissions and the use of nitrogen by 2030.
  • Additional resources allocated to support innovation, research and knowledge transfer.

IFA met with TII to discuss the Draft Code of Best Practice and Guide for National Greenway Projects. At the meeting additional information was sought which is still pending. It is hoped that the code will be finalised over coming weeks.

IFA have been in contact with ESB, Irish Water and TII representing farmers in relation to a number of infrastructural projects.

IFA have had regular meetings with EPA on the Smart Farming programme, with a  focus on updating the guidance for grassland management and energy.

Any EU/COPA developments

The EU recently published 2030 Climate Action plan, which proposes an EU-wide net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030. See IFA briefing note attached.

IFA attended the Bioenergy WG meeting to discuss the new Renewable Energy Directive II (RED II) new sustainability criteria, which relate to land criteria for agricultural waste and residue, agricultural biomass and forest biomass.

 Upcoming issues

An Bord Pleanala decision is pending on the South Kerry Greenway.

The publication of the Climate Action (Amendment) Bill is imminent.

Review of the Nitrates Regulation.

Chair Paul O’Brien
Executive Geraldine O’Sullivan

Activity since last National Council

 Pre-Budget 2021 Lobbying

  • The budget will be announced on Tuesday 13th
  • Pre-budget lobbying information sessions were organised via MS Teams on a regional basis.
  • Pre-budget lobbying has been carried out throughout the country at a local level by IFA officers.
  • There has been strong engagement with politicians and the lobbying has been well documented on social media.

Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (Covid-19 CGS)

  • See the IFA Guide to the Covid-19 CGS on the IFA website for further detail.
  • €2bn fund backed by an 80% state guarantee and overseen by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.
  • The scheme is now open for applications – apply directly to AIB, Bank of Ireland or Ulster Bank.
  • Primary producers in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture are included under the scheme.
  • Sole traders, partnerships and private limited companies are eligible.
  • The deadline for applications is December 31st
  • Borrowings can be used for working capital, investment or refinancing of Covid-19-related debt.
  • In relation to eligibility, while an applicant’s business must be negatively impacted by Covid-19, the business does not need to be in a position of severe financial distress.
  • The eligibility requirement of a 15% loss to expected or actual turnover could be made up of reduced output prices or the inability to sell livestock, among other things.

IFA Debt Support Service

  • The Debt Support Service has revised its terms of business in conjunction with Stafford Farm Consultants:
    • IFA membership is a pre-requisite in order to engage the services of IFA Debt Support Service, be it a new or existing case.
    • IFA Debt Support Service volunteers will not charge IFA members for the time they spend working on their cases – be it mileage, support, advice or negotiation. Accordingly, IFA Debt Support Service volunteers withhold the discretion to remain involved in a Debt Support Service case.
    • For new cases, IFA will pay for an initial meeting of one hour and a further three hours of consultancy with Stafford Farm Consultants.
    • When an existing IFA Debt Support Service case reengages with the IFA Debt Support Service after September 15th 2020, they are entitled to a further three hours of consultation by Stafford Farm Consultants from that date forward, paid for by the IFA.
    • If an IFA member chooses, Stafford Farm Consultants will be willing to provide private consultation for a fee, after the period of consultation paid for by the IFA.
    • IFA may at its discretion increase the amount of consultation by Stafford Farm Consultancy which is paid for by IFA.
    • There is no compulsion upon a service user to use the services of Stafford Farm Consultancy.
    • The onus is on an IFA member to promptly provide all the relevant financial and legal documentation.

Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIAs)

  • PIAs are a debt resolution mechanism for people in arrears facing insolvency. They are a formal agreement with creditors that will write off some unsecured debt and restructure any remaining secured debt (terms and conditions apply), while keeping the person in their home where possible. A recent circuit court judgement permitted farmland to be eligible for a PIA in certain circumstances.
  • In the course of the IFA Debt Support Service reviewing its existing cases, it has identified the few cases that could be considered for a PIA and will notify the IFA member of their possible suitability for a PIA.

Reports of NatWest closing Ulster Bank

  • IFA wrote to Jane Howard, CEO of Ulster Bank, seeking a commitment that the bank would remain in the country.
  • IFA co-signed a Save Our Ulster Bank statement organised by the Financial Services Union seeking a commitment from Ulster Bank to remain in operation in the Republic.

Meetings with Banks

  • Virtual meetings with AIB, BOI and UB to keep track of ongoing issues.

Upcoming issues

  • Budget 2021 on Tuesday 13th
  • Finance Act 2020
  • Maintaining pressure on Government to seek an extension of the Temporary State Aid Framework from the EU in order to extend the Covid-19 CGS into 2021 and expand the CGS to include the impact of Brexit.
  • As the Covid-19 Loan Payment Breaks come to an end, some borrowers may face difficulty.
  • Further meetings with banks to continue to get and provide feedback regarding ongoing finance issues.

Inputs

Activity since last National Council

  • The European Commission has renewed the anti-dumping measure on Ammonium Nitrate (AN) imports from Russia to the EU for another 5 years.
  • IFA submitted a reply to the Commission highlighting the impact of this decision on Irish farmers.

Upcoming issues

  • IFA must lobby for a percentage of the PSO Levy on electricity to be allocated to community-owned renewable energy projects.

 

Chair Rose Mary McDonagh
Executive Donal Sheehan

Activity since last National Council

 

  • The National Public Health Emergency Team on Monday, 5th October 2020 reported:
    • A total of 1,810 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.
    • A total of 38,549 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland, 518 new cases were confirmed on the 1st September 2020.
    • 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

(15th September)

No. of people in receipt of PUP (5th May)
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Mining & Quarrying 2,945 8,600
  • The number of people that closed PUP is as follows:
No. that closed PUP

(15th September)

No. that closed PUP

(8st September)

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, Mining & Quarrying 97

 

100
  • From 17th September 2020 until 31st January 2021 the COVID-19 PUP will be paid at three rates, if you earned:
    • €300 per week or more – the rate is €300 per week
    • between €200 and €300 per week – the rate is €250 per week
  • 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 by contacting DEASP Income Support Helpline for COVID-19 on 1890 800 024 or online by clicking here.
  • The following updates relate to Health and Safety:
    • There have been 16 farm fatalities officially recorded by HSA to date. To keep up to date on farm fatalities click here.
    • IFA, Agri Aware and AgriKids have agreed to develop a pilot farm safety programme for national school to raise awareness and teach kids how to be safe on farms.
    • A resilience workshop supported by Farm Business Skillnet has been organised for IFA members. The workshops will take place over two days on the following dates:
      • Group 1: 19th Oct 7pm to 10pm & 26th Oct 7pm to 10pm
      • Group 2: 20th October 10am to 1pm & 27th October 10am to 1pm

The resilience training is provided by Richard Burke, Resilience Matters.

  • IFA had an online meeting with Aware, who provide is a free support and information for issues relating to depression or bipolar disorder (Freephone 1800 80 48 48). They also provide Support & Self Care Groups for people, aged 18 years and over, to talk openly about depression, bipolar disorder, other mood conditions and their impact. Since the start of Covid-19 their services have experienced a hundred percent increase in calls from people who are feeling more anxious. They have created a series of online resources for Mental Wellbeing during Covid.
  • The Green Ribbon campaign launched, this year a new podcast series ‘See Change Sessions’ hosted by See Change Ambassador, Abigail McDonnell will start a conversation by diving deep and breaking down what mental health stigma is.
  • Safeguarding Ireland, which promotes safeguarding of vulnerable adults, have undertaken RED C research, which has found a shift in the type of abuse people experienced during the pandemic period, with cyber abuse (internet, social media, online) becoming more common. Other findings include:
    • Scams and coercion online have increased during the pandemic.
    • People who are more isolated (such as in rural areas) faced an increased risk of abuse.

The full research is available here.

  • The Department of Health launched new guidelines to help parents and carers establish good eating habits in children. The children’s food pyramid is for children aged 1 to 4, recommends include 3 servings of dairy and 2-4 servings of meat.
  • IFA attended the National Women Council discussion on Women in Rural Committee, to update the paper and understand inequality issues facing women in rural areas and how we can advocate on these issues. The draft paper recommends the following:
    • To recognise the women involved in farming and develop specific measures to encourage women and girls into agriculture through addressing succession and inheritance barriers.
    • The promotion of farming as a career option for women through subject choice abd positive measures in agricultural education programmes.
    • Targeted measures around succession, joint partnerships and inheritance including recognition of women as successors by their families.
    • Practical measures to recognise women’s work on farms.
    • Specific measures to promote women’s involvement in decision making and leadership in all parts of agri-business sector.

Upcoming issues

  • Progress the amendment to the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act to introduce three-year cap on productive assets.
  • To finalise farm safety pilot programme for national schools.
Chair Caroline Farrell
Executives Farm Family – Geraldine O’Sullivan

Farm Safety – William Shortall

Activity since last National Council

Designated Land

  • IFA met the new Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan on Sept 2nd.
  • At this meeting IFA strongly reiterated our opposition to any more designated land.
  • Recent reports on designations were grossly exaggerated according to the Minister and there are no plans to further increase areas from the current level of 13.5%.
  • IFA raised in particular the EU Life Nature project where funding of €20m is provided over 9 years.
  • The Minister confirmed to IFA that this project would not proceed without the necessary consultation.
  • IFA also raised IFA’s Pre Budget submission for an allocation of €10m for the NPWS farm plan scheme, compensation for farmers where rewetting of bogland is planned, and easing the restrictions on afforestation in Hen Harrier areas.
  • IFA also raised the farm agreement and the need for an early conclusion to discussions which have been ongoing for some time.
  • As a result of the meeting with the Minister, a further meeting with the NPWS on October 14th next, to discuss the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the likely implications this will have for Ireland.
  • IFA again will be insisting that there must be no new designations and that compensation payments must be enhanced to the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme, and EU Agri-Environmental programmes.

NPWS Farm Plan Scheme

  • 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.
  • 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.

CAP Transition

  • With a GLAS extension being sought, the Hill committee, at a recent meeting with the Dept. got a commitment that under 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 in commanage areas.

Burning

  • IFA will be raising the need for the implementation of the Wildlife amendments to allow burning next March, as well as hedge cutting in August next.

Comhairle na Tuaithe

  • At a recent meeting of Comhaire na Tuaithe, a new structure for the organisation is being discussed.
  • IFA is insisting that the farmers/landowners representation is not in any way diluted.

Upcoming Events

  • National Hill Committee Meeting Oct 2020.
  • Meeting NPWS. 14th October 2020.
Chairman Flor McCarthy
Executive Denis Griffin

Activity since last National Council

TAMS

  • 3,448 farmers applied for TAMS in Tranche 18, which closed on August 21st. In addition 1,240 applicants were carried forward from the previous tranche to give an overall application of 4,688.
  • Approvals of 70% of these farmers will be made shortly. This will mean that 1,406 applicants will be carried into Tranche 19, which closes on October 31st.
  • IFA is insisting that there must be no delay in approvals for tranche 19 as to date the process is too slow.
  • So far in TAMS around 31,729 approvals for TAMS have been issued. However, 6,685 applicants have not proceeded with their approval.
  • Payments worth €231.8m have been paid out to 16,585 farmers to date. A further 900 farmers have lodged payment claims.
  • When the carryover allocation from TAMS 1 is taken into account, €243.27m has been spent out of the 2014 – 2020 RDP allocation of €395m.
  • In the 2020 Book of estimates €82.5m is allocated with about €54.8m paid out to date. It is expected that the full allocation will be paid out by year end. 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 amendment to TAMS to increase the investment ceiling for pigs and poultry investment from €80,000 to €200,000 will come in under transitional arrangements in 2021.
  • At a recent meeting with the Dept. it was pointed out to IFA that Grant Aid for LESS will not apply after April 2021 for farmers who are in the nitrates derogation, as it is a mandatory measure for the farmers in the nitrates derogation since April 2020.
  • At this meeting, IFA also raised the necessity to increase the standard costings as they have not been reviewed for over 2 years.

2020 BPS/ANC Schemes

  • IFA met the Department of Agriculture in early September to press for early pay-out across all schemes.
  • At closing date for BPS 15th May around 129,000 farmers had made application.
  • IFA will be demanding that there is a maximum pay-out to all farmers of the 70% advance on the 16th The balancing 30% will be paid out on Dec 1st.
  • ANC payments commenced on 16th September last. So far, 87,565 farmers have been paid 85% of their payment worth €188.45m. Payments are being issued to around 1,000 farmers per week as they meet their minimum level stocking requirement.
  • The balancing 15% payment will be paid in early December.
  • IFA have got a commitment that any file that is out for inspection will not hold up payment for BPS or ANC.
  • ANC payments are worth €250m to nearly 100,000 farmers.
  • The Department’s LPIS review is continuing in counties Meath, Cavan, Longford and Leitrim. IFA is insisting that there is no repeat of last year’s debacle in Co. Louth where there were significant delays in payments due to digitising of maps.
  • IFA will be taking this matter up with the Charter of Rights meetings on 8th

ANC Appeals

  • Farmers in townlands that lost out under the appeal can now take their case up with the Ombudsman office.
  • IFA has requested that information to the unsuccessful townlands is issued by the Department of Agriculture, so that areas know what they can take up with the ombudsman.
  • Of the 315 townlands which have appealed, 72 were successful with 22 townlands coming for the first time.
  • 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, who have previously been included, they will qualify for a 40% payment in 2020 but will get no payment in 2021.

GLAS

  • At this stage 47,775 farmers have got their full 2019 payment. There are still about 600 due their balancing 15% payments for a variety of reasons. The total amount paid out under GLAS for 2019 is €202.86m.
  • The remaining farmers are being paid as problems are being resolved.
  • 2020 payments will commence in early Nov with a 85% payment. The remaining 15% will be paid in May 2021.
  • IFA is seeking an extension of GLAS plans, for either 1 or 2 years and that an early announcement is made so that farmers are given ample time to apply for an extension.

EU Transitional Rules

  • EU Transitional proposals have now been passed by the European Parliament and the Council of Minister.
  • However, in the trialogues which also involves the EU Commission, the Commission is insisting on a one-year transition.
  • The transitional rules are vital to allow the continuation of various schemes such as GLAS, TAMS, BDGP, and Sheep Welfare into 2021 or 2022.
  • At the recent meeting with the Dept., the Rural Development Committee raised the extension of GLAS 1 and 2 for 36,000 whose plans finish at year end and 12,000 GLAS 3 farmers whose plans finish at the end of 2021.
  • At the meeting with the Department of Agriculture IFA insisted that there must be a simple process to transpose plans for 1or 2 years.

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 meeting on Wednesday October 7th.

Charter of Rights meeting on October 8th.

Chairman Michael Biggins
Executive Denis Griffin
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