IFA President Tells Conference That Maintaining Cap Budget Vital to Underpin Irish Agricultural Growth

Addressing a major IFA Conference Driving Growth and Profit in Livestock in Tullamore this afternoon (Tues), IFA President John Bryan said Ireland must retain its full national envelope of funding in the Common Agricultural Policy after 2013, and active productive farmers must be supported by safeguarding the current direct payment system.

The Conference was also addressed by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt from the EU Commission’s DG Agri and Michael Dowling, Chairman of the Food Harvest 2020 Beef Implementation Group.

John Bryan said, “The overall EU Budget proposals will emerge next week. There have been attempts to undermine the CAP Budget, with various parties putting forward their claims for increased spending. Ireland has aligned itself with Germany and France in steadfastly opposing these moves. The Agriculture Commissioner Ciolos must resist these attempts and deliver a fully-funded CAP Budget post-2013.”

The IFA President said, “Direct payments are critically important to on-farm production in this country, and especially for the livestock sector.” In a clear message to Minister Coveney, John Bryan said agriculture can make a strong contribution to Ireland’s export-led economic recovery, but only on the basis of profitable production and ongoing commitment by the Government to the farm schemes. Minister Coveney’s cuts to the AEOS and the decision to suspend the TAMS were strongly criticised, and John Bryan called on him to deliver on previous commitments given on AEOS and re-open the TAMS immediately to assist on-farm investment.

Mr Bryan said he was very concerned that proposed ‘greening’ measures in the new CAP could increase the cost burden on farmers. “IFA believes the existing measures are more than sufficient to satisfy any greening requirement in the future CAP payments system.”

“The Rural Development Pillar ll measures are of vital importance to Ireland and the Minister must ensure the full budget of €350m is retained for Ireland. Farmers are very dependent on the payments such as REPS and AEOS, Disadvantaged Areas and farm investment schemes. The payback to society through the provision of public goods and the enhancement of the environment and the rural economy is enormous.”

IFA National Livestock Chairman Michael Doran said the targets for beef in the Food Harvest report would only be delivered with growth at farm level. “Profit levels will have to increase significantly across all beef enterprises to achieve this growth. Lack of, and low, profit is the biggest obstacle to expansion.”

Michael Doran said strong, viable prices on a par with UK levels and in our main EU export markets are essential for farm growth and profitability. “Maintaining current price levels is essential.”  He said price competition is very important for the beef sector and live exports are fundamental to this.

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