13th May 2014
ICSA REITERATES CALLS FOR TARGETED GLAS SUPPORT FOR SUCKLER & SHEEP FARMERS
Following today’s announcement by Minster’s Coveney of the full financial allocations for the next Rural Development Programme, ICSA president Patrick Kent has reiterated ICSA’s call for a special GLAS payment targeted at improving efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of the suckler and sheep sectors.
Last week, ICSA called for an additional €1,600 for suckler and sheep farmers participating in GLAS, which would be linked with co-operating with Carbon Footprint measuring and improvement. The payment would be made at a rate of €50/ha on up to 32ha and would involve suckler and sheep farmers working with Bord Bia’s Origin Green strategy. Measures would include extending the grazing season, improving weight gain and delivering better fertility.
Mr Kent noted that “ICSA’s proposed measures are beneficial to the bottom line for farmers but importantly also improve the carbon footprint of each kg of meat produced. Suckler and sheep farmers should have the option of an additional measure in their GLAS plan which would set out how they are implementing the recommendations on reducing their carbon footprint. This is a key objective of the EU CAP reform and so would be readily welcomed by the EU Commission.
“In terms of funding, ICSA estimates that an extra €50 million per annum for five years would be required. What today’s announcement has instead indicated is a proposed increase in the TAMS II budget of over €100 million since January’s original proposals, which one must assume is to further facilitate the post-quota dairy sector. Meanwhile, very little is being done to support the drystock breeding sectors, which suffered the most from the loss of REPS.”
Meanwhile, ICSA has welcomed the Department’s increased level of flexibility in relation to commonages within GLAS. Patrick Kent stated that “80% participation levels for Priority Environmental Assets and Actions on commonages is highly problematic and the 50-79% participation for secondary tier access is an acknowledgement of this by the Department. However, broader issues regarding commonage management in the country remains a main concern for ICSA and we will be continuing our engagement with the Minister on the issue.”