28 Jun 2016
IFA MEETS MINISTER CREED ON FARM INCOME CRISIS ISSUESSectors
IFA President Joe Healy led an IFA delegation in a meeting with the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed in Dublin last week, and highlighted priority areas and actions required from the Government to address the income crisis across the main farming sectors.
IFA outlined very clearly to Minister Creed the financial pressure farm families are under this year as a result of lower prices, higher costs and reduced direct payments. Joe Healy added that immediate action is required on state aid for low cost credit to all sectors, full draw down of the farm schemes, 70% payments advance, retail regulation and trade deals.
On dairying, Sean O Leary, IFA Dairy Chairman said urgent action is needed by the Government to provide low-cost short–term loans to alleviate cash flow pressures and reduce the high cost of merchant credit, adding that the EU Agriculture Council has already given the go ahead for this state aid in this area.
Minister Creed said his Department is working on this and recognised the financial pressure on farms, which is being compounded by Superlevy bills and taxation bills later this autumn. The Minister also said he had met all of the main banks and encouraged individual farmers to engage with them around interest and payments deferrals.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods told Minister Creed that factories had started putting unnecessary pressure on cattle prices, claiming that they are unable to handle supplies even though the kill is less than 30,000 head per week.
He said it is very clear the beef sector needs more competition and live export markets to Turkey and other North African and Middle Eastern markets need to open up as soon as possible. Minister Creed responded positively to the IFA request to convene a meeting of the Beef Forum and said he would do so in mid-July.
The Minister said he is working hard on market access issues to the US, China and Iran as well as live export markets and he noted IFA’s request that more Departmental resources should be committed to this work. Angus Woods also requested the Minister to reopen the Beef Data Genomics Scheme for sucklers.
IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey welcomed the positive response from Government to provide an additional €25m funding for the sheep sector and outlined to Minister Creed that the new €10 per ewe scheme must be simple, farmer friendly with minimal costs and bureaucracy on farmers.
He said proposals from the factories and others to link the scheme to EID were being received very negatively at farm level. He said the EU Commission has made it very clear to the IFA that the current derogation on EID for lambs directly to slaughter will remain in place. Minister Creed said it was clear that the sheep sector needed additional support and he noted the views of farmers on EID.
IFA National Grain Committee Chairman Liam Dunne asked Minister Creed to support grain farmers and the sector in the IFA campaign for the removal of tariffs and duties on fertilisers, the Glysophate challenge in the EU, on quality assurance with Bord Bia and by clearing the way to introduce TAMS for grain farmers.
Minister Creed said he fully supports the campaign on fertiliser and had pushed it with the French Minister and the EU Commission. He added that his Department will support the scientific approach on Glysophate.