IFA Rural Development Chairman, Flor McCarthy has said that it is clear from discussions with commonage farmers since the publication of stocking levels last week, that there is a clear rejection of the Department of Agriculture plan.
Speaking at a meeting in Clifden, Co Galway, Flor McCarthy said many aspects of the plan will not work and in particular the need for a compulsory collective agreement. It is now time that the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney intervened to bring some sense to the implementation process as otherwise it will be a wasteful exercise and will not achieve its goal of sustainable stocking levels on 450,000ha of commonage land.
Mr McCarthy said it is obvious that the figures that have been published are a desk exercise which have thrown up major discrepancies. Some commonages have stocking levels which are too high and others have levels which are too low.
It is important that a detailed plan is put in place which involves a long lead-in time, an appeals system and the implementation of a meaningful agri-environment plan. This would be in line with the CAP Post 2013 in the next Rural Development Programme the IFA man told the meeting.