ICSA: National Farm Survey highlights precarious situation on cattle and sheep farms

14th May, 2013

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association says the preliminary estimates under the National Farm Survey show that the viability of cattle and sheep farms is very precarious. ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin said, “It is clear that these farms are particularly vulnerable to any cuts in direct payments because direct payments are so vital to actual family farm income.”

“Whereas direct payments contributed 32 per cent of dairy farm incomes, they account for 132 per cent of cattle, 118 per cent of suckler and 118 per cent of sheep incomes. While the percentage fall in dairy incomes is highest at 24 per cent, the 8-11 per cent fall in cattle and sheep incomes is from a very low base.”

“The reality is that average incomes are €11,743, €17,621 and €16,898 on suckler, cattle and sheep farms respectively, compared with €51,648 for dairy farms.”

“This demonstrates the importance of ensuring that the Single Payment for low income cattle and sheep farmers must be protected to the greatest extent possible. It also highlights the reality that Pillar 2 rural development money must be directed to the greatest extent possible to the low income cattle and sheep sectors under the CAP reform. It also has to be taken into account when considering how to handle rural development funding in the interim 2014 period,” Mr. Gilmartin concluded.