Addressing the Women in Agriculture Conference in Kilkenny today, IFA General Secretary Pat Smith said most farm women were at the centre of the management of the household finances on farms across the country and would take the brunt of any cuts in farm schemes in the Budget.
“As well as working on farms, women also carry out the bulk of the financial management and administrative tasks associated with farming. They are often at the forefront of new farming related business opportunities and are the main family carers and household managers.
He said, “Farm families were already hit hard with previous Budget cuts to schemes, and like other taxpayers are struggling with increased taxes and the Universal Social Charge. With average farm incomes under €18,000 a year, the Minister for Agriculture must ensure that the payment of farm schemes is protected in the upcoming Budget.”
Mr Smith outlined the Government, industry and EU actions that must be delivered if Irish farmers are to meet the Food Harvest 2020 targets. “Key among these are a satisfactory outcome to CAP reform, a solution to milk quotas pre-2015, cost-effective delivery of additional processing capacity and the availability of finance at reasonable cost. In addition, education and on-farm advice must be prioritised and product prices must be maintained and increased to reflect the escalating cost of inputs. Land mobility must also be increased by promoting long-term leasing.”