The financial accounts for the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) are back in the black, as significant reductions in costs brought about by COVID-19 restrictions delivered over €2m of cost savings for the organisation.
The result for 2021 is an operating surplus of €1.54m up from a deficit of €1.2m in 2020. The €2.7m turnaround has come mainly on the back of reduced costs rather than increased income.
The most recent set of accounts published (to March 2021) show voluntary costs (replacement farm help for officers) was down €700,000 to €431,878, as little or no in-person meetings took place.
Communications outlay dropped €232,000 to €264,645, while public relations costs dropped €400,000 to €151,866, as the IFA had no presence in person as events were cancelled.
There were other big cost savings on items such as foreign travel, membership recruitment and the fact there was no election, meaning total costs for the farmer organisation are down to €14.183m from €16.269m in 2020.
On the income side, overall income is up €535,000 to €15.73m, as Telecom sales were up a fraction, membership fees were up from €5.7m to €6.3m, while levies were up marginally by €30,000 to reach €2.81m from €2.77m the year previously.
The membership fee intake includes the first full year of the €10 per member fee increase.
Levies are €1.50 per €1,000 farm output, so, despite the increase in commodity prices and growth in milk production, the association income streams are best described as steady rather than increasing.
The accounts were accepted by IFA national council at the December meeting on Tuesday.
Overall, we understand there was a general acceptance that the financial accounts reflect the exceptional nature of the year due to various lockdowns and, when normal expenditure resumes, the association would be just about operating at breakeven.