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Sep 27, 2021 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

25 JUNE 2021 

ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said the CAP deal reached in Brussels today cannot hide the fact that farmers are being asked to do more and more for less and less. “The key battles around the level of convergence to even-out the per hectare payments and re-distribution to support smaller farmers simply reflect the fact that the budget is inadequate, and the truth is that the outcome will please nobody.” 

“Similarly, the grandiose vision for an EU Green Deal – of which the agri-food sector is expected to do a lot of heavy lifting – is not matched by a suitably ambitious funding mechanism. Instead, many farmers will become even less viable due to direct payment cuts and will then be expected to devote many more hours to delivering public goods in the climate change and biodiversity spheres.” 

“This CAP reform has been notable also by the extent to which the voice of farmers has been side-lined. The influence of Commissioner Timmermans has been excessive, and this has been noted by many, but he has not come to the table with concrete proposals for extra funding to match the green ambition. Meanwhile, Commissioner Wojchiechowski is mistaken in his belief that the proposals on re-distribution will make any significant difference to small and medium scale farmers.”  

“The 10% of payments to support small and medium farmers does not look so good when you realise that the money will predominantly be deducted from small and medium farmers in Ireland in the first place. Essentially, there has been deadly combat between the European Parliament and the Commission, both of whom assert their rights to speak on behalf of farmers while actually it is clear that neither are listening. Covid has been a useful device to avoid real engagement.” 

“I want to make it very clear that ICSA is fully behind any strategy that will increase funds for small and medium scale farmers, particularly those in the low-income sectors of cattle, sheep, and tillage. We are unequivocal in supporting an absolute cap of €60,000 on payments with no wiggle room for those farms that are big enough to employ staff, in the context of a CAP where small scale suckler and sheep farmers are being cut even at a current payment levels of €10,000.” 

“Ireland now has to face up to difficult choices in designing its own CAP plans. ICSA has highlighted the fact that the cuts to CAP funding and the changes in schemes have led to the bizarre scenario where the Pillar One payment for a dairy farmer, is on average, greater than for a suckler farmer (2019 Teagasc National Farm Survey). This cannot be right when we look at the comparative incomes per hectare.” 

“We also have to get real about environmental ambition. A pilot agri-environment scheme offering about €4,000 net to a farmer tells you all you need to know. Almost twenty years ago, farmers were getting double this in REPS. So, all this talk of ecology is actually codology, if the farm is not helped to be viable.”     


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