European Commissioner Phil Hogan’s proposal for Irish farmers to reduce suckler numbers in order to avail of the €100m Brexit beef package has been labelled as ‘offside’ by the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA).
“Is this a cynical ploy by the Commissioner, our Government and others to clear the way for the continued dairy expansion at the expense of our suckler sector,” Colm O’Donnell, president of the INHFA said.
It had been intended that the €100m beef fund – half of which was provided by the Irish Government – would be used to pay beef farmers for retrospective losses caused by Brexit.
The revelation that a condition to reduce suckler numbers has been attached has caused widespread outrage among the farm community.
The INHFA raised a number of concerns with the condition to cut suckler numbers: “Any reduction requirement for suckler farmers in the BDGP would clearly be problematic and run at variance with this scheme.
“There is also the issue for commonage farmers in a GLAS plan where there is a minimum stock requirement that is often met by suckler cows, weanlings and store cattle.
“For many other farmers on a low stocking rate that is sometimes prescribed, then a forced reduction could see them fall below the ANC stocking density threshold,” added O'Donnell.
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