Family sized cattle, sheep or tillage farms who are desperately dependent on CAP supports must be protected as CAP negotiations continue, ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said.
The comments came during a hearing of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture on Wednesday where Kelleher said: “Payments must be funnelled towards these farmers, most of whom are not viable. Otherwise, we are sending the signal that everybody who wants to farm must farm dairy.”
“The reality is that the CAP budget is being steadily eroded by inflation and that farmers are being asked to do more and more with less and less.
It looks like the final outcome will be that the lowest payment will have to reach 85% of the average by 2026, which is a noble aspiration
“However, if the EU wants a greener CAP, then it must reward the farmer who is less intensive and wants to participate in a worthwhile agri-environment scheme. To this end, the ICSA has proposed that a scheme should have the potential to pay up to €15,000.”
On convergence Kelleher said: “It looks like the final outcome will be that the lowest payment will have to reach 85% of the average by 2026, which is a noble aspiration, except for the fact that it takes from already strapped suckler, sheep and beef farmers.
“The solution to this proposed by the Commissioner for Agriculture is the CRISS. ICSA favours insulating smaller and medium sized farmers from convergence cuts and we would like to see a system that allocates more support for the first 40ha.”
This will not make any worthwhile difference
The ICSA said the CRISS is insufficient and not funded.
“Instead, it takes a linear cut from all farmers which is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Department of Agriculture modelling suggests that if you cut all farmers by €54m you can give an extra €20/ha on the first 30ha. This will not make any worthwhile difference,” Kelleher continued.