SMART FARMING WATER GUIDANCE FOCUSES ON WATER CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION

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Smart Farming, the resource efficiency programme run by IFA in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency has launched updated water guidance, to support farmers work in improving water quality and reducing the risk of penalties.

Thomas Cooney, Smart Farming Programme Leader said, “Farmers are the custodians of the rural environment and their increasing participation in the voluntary Smart Farming programme demonstrates their willingness and desire to focus on both improving their farm returns while enhancing the rural environment. I believe this updated water guidance will help farmers achieve these two objectives”.

Mary Frances Rochford, EPA Programme Manager in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability added, “Clean water is essential to our health and wellbeing and conserving water is essential in the context of our changing climate. We must do more to halt deterioration in water quality so that we protect this most precious public resource. Smart Farming plays an important role in addressing water conservation and water quality in the farming sector. Successful implementation of the measures need wide and willing take up by the farming community.”

Catherine Seale-Duggan from the Local Authority Waters Programme welcomed the additional information provided on water protection and conservation. She noted that farming is so important for maintaining and improving water quality and she was delighted to see that farmers were being actively supported to achieve water quality improvements on their farms.

The beef talks in Backweston have concluded after more than 12 hours of discussions between the various parties.

 

The independent Chairman Michael Dowling will circulate a document based on the proposals that were put forward.

 

IFA President Joe Healy said some progress had been made on market transparency and the introduction of a price index.

 

There is also a commitment to look at the market specifications that impact on price that exist in the grid.

 

It is expected that the talks will re-convene on Thursday or Monday next.

 

IFA President Joe Healy has said that retailers and the EU Commission must be included in the talks that the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has convened for tomorrow.

Speaking at the Tullamore Show today (Sun), Joe Healy said, “While the factories are the main problem, the retailer has a dominant role in the dysfunctional food chain that is not working for beef farmers. They need to be around the table tomorrow to account for their actions and to outline how they intend to address the problem”.

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IFA National Dairy Chairman, Tom Phelan said the July PPI reduction of 0.7 points announced today by Ornua, which is equivalent to a milk price of 30.9c/l including VAT, still leaves room for the majority of co-ops to hold their July milk price, at the very worst.

“Apart from the West Cork co-ops, all milk purchasing co-ops have undershot the Ornua PPI in the milk price they have returned to farmers for most of the last eight months,” Mr Phelan said.

“Despite the fact that Irish supply is up by 10%, global milk supplies for the first half of the year are down; Germany (-1.5% on May and -1.4% in June), France (-1.6% in May and – 0.2% in June) and Dutch milk output, still moderated by herd reduction, is down 2.7% for the January to May period. Heatwaves in June and July are compounding these figures.

“Demand remains relatively good in Asia, South America, the EU and the US,” he added.

“Concerns over the potential impact of economic and geopolitical factors that have yet to materialise is not a good enough reason to deny Irish farmers for several months a milk price fully justified by market returns,” he said.

“Co-ops will be meeting to set milk prices from next week and they should be able, at the very minimum, to hold prices at their current levels,” he concluded.

IFA President Joe Healy has described the move by Meat Industry Ireland to take legal action as heavy-handed, ill-advised and counterproductive in terms of finding a solution to the very serious issues affecting beef farmers.

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