IFA President John Bryan said he would be using next week’s Annual General Meeting to remind the Government there can be no further cuts to farm schemes, which have already been savaged over successive budgets.
He said, “Reports suggesting that Disadvantaged Areas and the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme could be targeted again would be very damaging to the viability and investment plans on farms. Despite the improvement in farm incomes, the farming sector is still heavily reliant on direct payments, and with average farm incomes little more than €21,000, farmers cannot afford any more reductions in supports.”
John Bryan said, “Both the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney will attend our AGM. I will be delivering a clear message that farm schemes cannot be cut any further.”
The IFA President said today’s figures from Bord Bia showing a 12% increase in food and drink exports to €8.85bn is evidence of the recovery in the agri-food sector. “Without investment on farm and increased production, we would not be in a position to report such strong growth. Primary production is the key to developing farming and food, and must be supported.”