IFA deputy president Brian Rushe has accused the Department of Agriculture of imposing blanket “over the top” regulations on all farmers instead of ensuring compliance with existing regulations.
The Kildare farmer said Thursday’s farmer meeting on nitrates made it abundantly clear that farmers are furious with Department of Agriculture proposals for the next Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) and its management of the review process.
“The IFA will not allow farmers livelihoods to be put at risk because the Department has mismanaged the review process, which has resulted in a five-month delay in the consultation process. This is too important an issue for Irish farmers,” said Rushe.
Compliance with existing regulations must be met before additional blanket regulations are imposed on farmers whose incomes are already under threat with the proposed reduction in CAP payments.
“Failure by Department officials to ensure compliance has meant that all farmers are now being asked to adhere to over the top regulations,” he said.
IFA dairy chair Stephen Arthur highlighted the cost of the new proposals.
“The cost of implementing proposals relating to additional slurry storage and soiled water storage will be in the region of €30,000-€50,000 for an average dairy farmer,” he said.
“The real insult here is that many of these measures will do little to improve water quality. The proposals are flawed.”
IFA environment chair Paul O’Brien said the Department is trying to “shoehorn in conditions that extend beyond the remit of the Nitrates regulation itself”.
“By including measures such as the compulsory use of low-emission slurry spreading equipment, the Government is trying to renege on its responsibility to support farmers in the low-carbon transition. Measures that are included under the nitrates regulation are not eligible for grant aid,” said O’Brien.
“We are encouraging all farmers to engage with the consultation process. We cannot let the Department away with bringing in such outrageous regulations,” concluded Brian Rushe.