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Speaking at the weekly sheep sale in Tuam Mart Co Galway today, IFA President Joe Healy highlighted the income difficulties on sheep farms across the country.  He said strong action from Government through domestic and EU supports, along with higher lamb prices from the factories, are needed to secure this very important farm enterprise into the future.

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IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has described current ground conditions as challenging and deteriorating.  Met Eireann is predicting rainfall of 50mm in the west and northwest in the next 48 hours, which will exacerbate the situation.

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IFA National Sheep Chairman, Sean Dennehy said it is positive that all lamb factories are back up and running at full capacity this week.

He said the trade is stable with factories paying €4.60/4.65/kg and top prices of €4.75/4.85, including bonuses.

He said it is very important that factories keep a firm floor in prices over the next few weeks.

Sean Dennehy said it was also time that factories increased carcase weights, at least up to 22kgs.

In addition, he said it is very important that factories do not penalise famers on weights or specs because they were unable to sell lambs over the last three weeks.

IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has described the voluntary review being undertaken by the Government as an important opportunity to build on the sustainable development of the agri-food sector.

Thomas Cooney said, “Teagasc’s recently published sustainability report highlights the environmentally efficient development of the sector, with better fertiliser and grassland management leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions per kilo of product across all enterprises. While water quality challenges remain, the improvement in farm management practices is helping to keep Ireland’s overall water quality in the top tier in Europe.

This interim review of the Nitrates Derogation must ensure that farmers who farm in derogation are supported to deliver Government’s ambitions of Food Wise 2025. It must also ensure that farmers are not saddled with excessive regulations and compliance requirements.

Concluding Thomas Cooney said, “Farmers have and continue to invest in the environmental improvement of their farms, whether that’s increased storage, management of run-off or farmyard management. This investment has not delivered a return from the marketplace and this issue should be addressed as part of this derogation review.”

In advance of the publication of the report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action this week, IFA President Joe Healy said that the Committee should include, as a key recommendation, the full implementation of the Teagasc climate roadmap for the sector.

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