IFA PRESIDENT JOHN BRYAN ADDRESSES LIMERICK COUNTY EXECUTIVE

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IFA PRESIDENT JOHN BRYAN ADDRESSES LIMERICK COUNTY EXECUTIVE
02 Dec 2010

IFA PRESIDENT JOHN BRYAN ADDRESSES LIMERICK COUNTY EXECUTIVE

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Addressing a meeting of the Limerick IFA County Executive in Adare this week, IFA President John Bryan gave a wide-ranging and detailed presentation covering all of the main farming enterprises, policy areas, challenges and campaigns currently on the IFA agenda.
 
The President gave top priority to the IFA campaign in defence of the Single Farm Payment in CAP Reform 2013. John Bryan said protecting the Single Farm Payment from EU moves at redistribution and against proposals on greening was vital for all farmers in Limerick.
 
John Bryan said IFA was working very closely with our French and German counterparts in Brussels. “Only last week we had the President of the German Farm Organisation, the DBV in Dublin to discuss CAP post 2013. The EU Commissioner Dacian Ciolos addressed our Executive Council in October.” He said IFA would spare no resource in our campaign to negotiate the best deal for Irish farmers in CAP 2013.
 
The President also briefed members on the strong Budget 2011 campaign being undertaken by the Association. He said “We have worked hard in convincing the Government and opposition parties on the important role of agriculture involving €8bn in exports and supporting 250,000 jobs in rural areas”.
 
John Bryan said the IFA Budget strategy is based on supporting growth in agriculture by retaining important tax reliefs and maintaining funding for the vital farm schemes of AEOS, Suckler Cow Welfare, Disadvantage Areas and Forestry. 
 
The IFA President said he would maintain maximum pressure on the Department to get payments out to farmers as the delays in processing and digitising maps for the 2010 Single Farm Payment and Disadvantage Area Payments were totally unacceptable. 
 
John Bryan informed the Executive of IFA work on many important issues during the year including the review of the Nitrates regulations which he said were critically important to many farmers in Limerick.<br />
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John Bryan said 2010 was a much better year for dairy farmers with both milk yields and milk prices up on 2009 levels. John Bryan said IFA is in the process of meeting all of the major Co-ops on the extra processing capacity necessary for future growth in the sector. He rejected suggestions that the expansion would cost €850m and said an investment of €50m to €100m coupled with processing savings and efficiencies would accommodate real progress.
 
 
Addressing the beef and livestock sector John Bryan said autumn cattle prices were up across the board and the key issue now is to secure a substantial increase in prices for winter finishers. “Prices have started to rise with base prices of €3.10/kg for steers and €3.20/kg for heifers being paid. Winter finishers need to hold out and demand a substantial price increase from the factories.” 
 
“The live export trade is essential for price competition and provides a vital market outlet for calves and weanlings, store and finished cattle. Live exports should hit 350,000 head this year.” John Bryan said IFA works hard in defending the live export trade at both National and EU level. “IFA will not accept any restrictions on the important live export trade.” He said the latest 30-day TB restriction for marts and the live export trade must be resolved successfully by the Government. 
 
John Bryan also updated the meeting on the ongoing IFA campaign against Mercosur and Brazilian beef imports. “A trade deal with Mercosur countries including Brazil would inflict severe damage on the Irish and EU livestock sector and our suckler cow herd.”
 
On the Quality Payment System, John Bryan said it is the clear and democratic view of the IFA Executive Council and the National Livestock Committee that livestock farmers are properly rewarded for quality. He said the legitimate concerns of farmers on the QPS have been discussed widely and IFA is demanding a number of positive changes be made by the meat factories.
 
“I am insisting that the changes we have already secured to fat class 4= and 4+ be made permanent. In addition, the In spec quality assurance bonus of 6c/kg must be extended to O- grade cattle”.
 
On mechanical classification, John Bryan said beef farmers were not looking to revert to manual grading. He said mechanical grading was much more objective, consistent and accurate than manual grading. He said IFA has called on the Minister for Agriculture to make a Department official in each meat plant responsible for supervising and checking mechanical classification, carcase trim and weights. He also called for increased monitoring and control of classification at the meat plants by the Department.
 
On sheep, the IFA President said 2010 was a much better year with prices up 16%. In addition, he said IFA has worked hard on securing the €10/ewe Sheep Grassland payment and the €8m in Capital Grant Aid for fencing and handling facilities.
 
In conclusion, John Bryan praised the important work of farmers in helping and checking in on neighbours and the elderly living in rural areas during the current severe weather conditions.

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