Pressure to reassess the make-up of farm-related state boards stepped up a gear this week, with the Irish Grain Growers (IGG) supporting an ICSA demand for change.

The ICSA called on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue this week to address what it described as “the complete imbalance” in the board make-up of Teagasc, Bord Bia and ICBF.

ICSA president Dermot Kelleher said there was insufficient drystock and tillage farmers on these state boards, and that this needed to be addressed by Minister McConalogue.

IGG’s Bobby Miller pointed out that grain growers had similarly sought tillage farmer representation on the board of Teagasc in its pre-budget submission.

Miller said the need for such representation had been outlined by the IGG on a number of occasions over the last 18 months, to both the Department of Agriculture and senior Teagasc management.

ICSA has called for the make-up of the three boards to be examined for enterprise balance.

‘Entitled to a say’

Kelleher pointed out that there were five dairy farmers on the Teagasc board, but no dedicated suckler, sheep or beef farmer member.

“There is no dedicated beef or sheep farmer on the board of Bord Bia, and the ICBF board is very much tilted in favour of dairying as well,” Kelleher maintained.

“We have some 17,000 dairy farmers in Ireland. They are entitled to be heard. But are the other 110,000 farmers not entitled to a say?” the ICSA leader asked.

He said there was a “dairy dominance in decision making” in Irish farming, which emerged in “some Department proposals” and was “embedded in the governance structures of our most important State agricultural bodies.”

“I am calling on Minister McConalogue to get to grips with this as soon as possible and make sure we have farm sector balance on the boards of Teagasc, Bord Bia and ICBF.”