Concerns over securing maximum payments in ACRES was among the main issues for farmers at a recent meeting with the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) and Ulster Farmers Union (UFU).

Farmers who attended the meeting, which took place on two Leitrim sheep farms, were also concerned about the lack of value for wool, the environment and the incoming CAP.

There was a lot of interest in the new ACRES, according to IFA sheep chair Kevin Comiskey. However, he said that farmers were concerned about not being able to get the maximum payment.

"On the second farm, we had a discussion about CAP and the environment. It'll all depend on the measures they introduce; they're talking about growing flowers in the low input grassland measure, but sheep would have those eaten off fairly quick," he told the Irish Farmers Journal.

"There was also a lot of discussion about how we could get the value of wool back to the way it was in the 80s and 90s.

"It's a huge income loss to farmers on the ground," he said.


Comiskey argued that sheep farmers are not being rightfully rewarded for how environmentally friendly sheep are. This, he said, is something they are hoping to highlight more.

He added that the discussions were an important opportunity to cover a variety of topics affecting the sheep sector and speakers on the night included Teagasc, Sheep Ireland, Gilrane and Associates, Future Cast, EweKnit and environmentalist Dolores Byrne.

“Events such as these are a great opportunity to bring together our counterparts and share knowledge and expertise in the interests of all sheep farmers,” he said.

Concluding, he said it’s important both organisations continue to engage for the improvement of the sheep sector across the island of Ireland.