Thu, 24 May 2018
IRELAND - IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to come on board with farmers and support the strong case for increased targeted support for the suckler cow herd of €200 per cow.
Mr Woods said figures from the 2017 Teagasc National Farm Income survey released today show that the real problem on suckler farms is low incomes.
"The survey shows that the average suckler income is only €12,500. This clearly demonstrates the need for strong additional support for suckler farmers," he said.
He said Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and the Department cannot continue to ignore the severe income crisis in livestock. "Saying no to proposals to try and improve suckler incomes is not an option."
The IFA livestock leader said suckler farmers are under severe income pressure and cow numbers are falling.
The figures from ICBF show that suckler registrations are down by 20,272 to 943,503. Since 2012, overall numbers have fallen by 132,207, which is a 12 per cent reduction from the peak.
"Minister Creed is telling farmers that under State Aid rules he cannot pay €200 per cow and he keeps referring to coupled payments and taking money from other farmers," said Mr Woods.
Mr Woods said IFA has been to Brussels and the EU Commission is clear that Ireland can make a targeted payment of €200 per cow under the animal welfare option in the CAP Rural Development Plan.
In addition, the IFA proposal is not based on taking any money from any other farmer and involves a targeted payment per cow under the CAP Pillar II, financed from additional exchequer funding and RDP savings.
"IFA is demanding new money from the Government for this support and flatly reject any suggestions that it would be taken from any farmer’s Basic Payment," Mr Woods concluded.