Mr. John Hanley, Roscommon IFA County Chairman, said the IFA is very strong in its view that vulnerable low-income sectors like suckler farming must be strongly supported and prioritised for increased targeted direct supports of up to €200 per cow.
He said Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and his 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.
Mr. Hanley said: “IFA has not proposed a straight coupled support of €200 per cow involving a reduction in basic payments. Based on the exceptional low-income levels of €13,000 a year in suckling, it is essential that direct supports for suckler cows are increased. This can be financed through a combination of CAP Pillar I, Pillar II and national funding.”
Mr. Hanley pointed out that when IFA first proposed a strong targeted direct payment for sheep farmers, there was also a very negative reaction from some Government sources. However, since his appointment, Minister Creed has overseen the new €25m sheep welfare scheme introduced in the last Programme for Government.
Mr. Hanley said our one million head suckler cow herd is vital to the beef and livestock sector. It provides the marketing image on which our quality beef exports and access to the higher-priced retail market outlets are secured.