IFA president Tim Cullinan did not hold back when it came to summing up the leadership of European Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski.
Speaking to over 200 farmers on a virtual Munster regional meeting, he said the “Polish Agriculture Commissioner is weak”.
He continued by sharing his concerns that this would lead to an increased green agenda which could hurt the interests of farmers under the next Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).
He pointed to the access “a young girl like Greta Thunberg” the climate activist could get, and the Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's plans for Europe to be carbon neutral by 2050.
His concerns were echoed by IFA economist Tadhg Buckley who said farmers would be expected to meet higher environmental standards without a corresponding rise in the economic scale for farmers in the next CAP.
Cullinan touched upon a number of points in his address but was also scathing in his analysis of the role played by Minister of State for Agriculture Pippa Hackett, who has responsibility for forestry.
“I’m very annoyed with the new minister,” Cullinan told farmers.
He said the volume of forestry appeals meant the system was “on the point of Armageddon” and said that the IFA had been calling for an amnesty on forestry licenses held up by the appeal system.
“The farmer forester is getting left behind on this,” he said.
“Coillte are getting a free pass.”
‘Convergence is robbery’
Many farmers voiced their concerns on a variety of issues including BEAM, environmental measures, forestry and convergence.
Farmer Tim Mulcahy, told the meeting that “convergence is robbery” and urged the organisation to fight continued convergence.
Another farmer, Seán Dennehy, who is also the IFA sheep chair, thanked Tim Cullinan for his work in getting the reference year in the Sheep Welfare Scheme changed, but added that going forward, “we really have to build on €30/ewe”.
“Food is gone too cheap and people have to start paying more for it.”