26th May 2014
ICSA Munster vice-president John Halley has called for ring fencing of TAMS funding under the new Rural Development Programme for suckler and sheep farmers. “With all of the expansion plans in dairying there is a real concern that dairy equipment will use up all of the €395 million allocated to the proposed TAMS measure.
“Suckler and sheep farmers cannot compete with dairy farmers in terms of cash flow. Pillar 2 money needs to be prioritised to the low income sectors such as sucklers and sheep, where the loss of REPS has been especially severe. These are also the sectors that tend to have lower Pillar 1 payments. It is therefore essential that a realistic proportion of the TAMS money be ring fenced exclusively for the suckler and sheep sectors.”
ICSA is also calling for a special extra payment for suckler and sheep farmers under the GLAS scheme. This would be an additional payment of up to €1,600 for farmers who implement recommendations to reduce their carbon footprint.
Mr Halley continued “The Government also needs to realise that meat processors are continuously undermining the outlook for beef exports when they undermine price paid for top quality continental cattle. Increasingly, they are manipulating price through unloading cattle from their own feedlots and other units which they control. This must be addressed to restore confidence in the suckler sector.
“We have to realise that the future for the suckler and sheep sectors is very uncertain. These are the key enterprises in many of the western counties. If we want to maintain beef and lamb exports then the incomes of suckler and sheep farmers will have to be prioritised to a far higher extent by Government. The Rural Development Programme should be supporting productive farming on the family farm, not ‘boardroom farming for company stakeholders.”