ICSA CAP FUNDING REACTION: ONLY THE ICSA PLAN CAN DELIVER ON THE AGRI-ENVIRONMENT, SUCKLER, SHEEP AND BEEF PAYMENTS AMBITION

‘Although Minister McConalogue has worked hard to get an increased budget for the rural development programme, there just isn’t enough to deliver anywhere near €300/cow, €35/ewe, an early finishing support of €100/head and a decent agri-environment scheme worth up to €15,000’

Sligo News File

Dermot Kelleher, president. Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association

 ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said that the €3.86 billion funding package for CAP announced today will not be anywhere near enough to deliver the key ICSA proposals unless the Minister also opts for coupled suckler and sheep payments or transfers money from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2.

“Although Minister McConalogue has worked hard to get an increased budget for the rural development programme, there just isn’t enough to deliver anywhere near €300/cow, €35/ewe, an early finishing support of €100/head and a decent agri-environment scheme worth up to €15,000.

“I am very frustrated that the Department is not interested in delivering what is required to support the low-income sectors and to have an ambitious enough agri-environmental scheme to reward farmers who go the extra mile for the green agenda. On the other hand, the increase in funding for the organic scheme looks like it is unrealistically high.

“ICSA also called for 25% top-up on sucklers and sheep for young farmers. I am calling again on the Minister to examine the ICSA proposals given that the funding announced is not going to do the things that most active farmers want. We must shift some of the Pillar 1 money to a coupled suckler and sheep payment and also transfer around €80 million from Pillar 2 to fund an early finishing incentive (Beef Carbon Efficiency Payment) as set out in the ICSA plan and video.

“It is now incumbent on all organisations to have an honest discussion about whether they will support the ICSA plan or else to propose another means of delivering the same results. It is equally incumbent on the Minister to explain how he proposes to move forward and demonstrate that he is listening to the majority of farmers in Ireland who want better supports for the low-income cattle and sheep sectors.

“I am also asking for a full explanation of the government’s plans to fully allocate the €1.5billion carbon taxes as new money, as promised in the Programme for Government.  A lot of the promised money is being deferred back to 2028-2030, it seems. This is not good enough.

“There’s been lots of talk about a €300 suckler cow payment, but only ICSA has the plan to deliver it.  It is now time to end the rhetoric and find a way to make this happen.

“ICSA acknowledges the huge effort made by the Minister on the funding front but we now have to begin the serious business of actually translating that into a working plan that will give hope to the beef, sheep and tillage sectors. If Ireland doesn’t return CAP payments to where they originally started, then the clear message is dairying or bust. And that won’t help farmers and it won’t deliver on the climate change agenda.  

“Only the ICSA plan can deliver €300/suckler cow; €35/ewe; €100/head beef finisher payment, and a worthwhile agri-environment scheme. It’s now time for all to work together to deliver this,” concluded Mr Kelleher.