14th December, 2012
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association president, Gabriel Gilmartin, once again pushed for changes to the proposed new rules for commonages at the Association’s Annual Conference on Tuesday, 11th December 2012.
The Department of Agriculture recently delayed sending out letters outlining the planned changes, a move which Mr Gilmartin welcomed, saying that receiving the letters would have caused a huge amount of confusion and controversy among commonage farmers.
Speaking at the conference, which was attended by the Minister for Agriculture, he said, “At the very least, a lengthy lead-in period is needed for a change of this magnitude. However, to my mind, the main sticking point is the notion of collective agreement, which will be impossible to implement. My fear is that active farmers will suffer when inactive and dormant shareholders decide to come back and stock up as a result of the new rules.”
“However, I am far more concerned about the potential for a farmer who complies with an agreement to be penalised because other shareholders don’t comply. I simply don’t think it’s appropriate or acceptable to make one farmer accountable for the action or inaction of another, particularly when their Single Farm Payment or DAS payment can be cut. ICSA wants a guarantee that this aspect of the new rules will be changed.”