20th June, 2013
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association CAP chairman Billy Gray has called on Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD to ensure that the active farmer with the modest payment is shielded to the greatest extent possible from cuts under any CAP re-distribution, while making provision for extra payments which should also be targeted at active farmers.
Ahead of the crucial Farm Council talks in Luxembourg next week, Mr Gray said, “The minimum payment on every hectare is the wrong way to go. We need a minimum payment per hectare but it must be targeted at young and active farmers who have a track record of being productive. We also need to have limits on how many hectares qualify for an increase in order to ensure that we can give the money where it is most needed. It is absolutely wrong that an inactive farmer could get a minimum payment on hundreds of hectares which up to now have been either rented out or not farmed productively.”
Mr Gray reiterated the ICSA position that a further cut of 7% to farmers’ single payments to fund a suckler premium of €50 and a ewe premium of €10 will be of no great benefit to anyone except meat factories. “Suckler cow numbers have increased in the past three years and farmers need the flexibility to reduce numbers when prices and profitability come under pressure.”