The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association's budget proposal can deliver for almost 100,000 farmers, through short and medium-term interventions for the suckler and sheep sectors, INHFA president Colm O’Donnell has said.
The INHFA has highlighted the looming threat of Brexit in their submission, suggesting a no-deal may have the potential to inflict more damage than COVID-19 on farmers and rural Ireland.
O’Donnell said: “Budget 2021 will need to recognize the people most at risk and deliver the necessary measures and supports.
“Both the suckler and sheep sectors have, over the years, suffered the most in terms of declining income and are now the most vulnerable in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”
INHFA’s budget proposals include:
BeefSuckler beef sector development with funding of €160m to deliver support for farmers through a BEEP 2 payment. Payment of €200 granted on the first 10 cows with a digressive payment thereafter. Funding through Bord Bia for €4m to develop a naturally-reared suckler beef brand.Additional funding to market beef into mainland Europe, with tax concessions for shipping companies to develop direct routes. This will, in turn, reduce reliance on the UK land bridge, which currently handles 90% of Irish meat products going to Europe.
Sheep and forestryContinuation of the sheep welfare scheme, with an increased budget of €36m, ensuring payments of up to €20 on each ewe. Budget of €500,000 to be granted for a feasibility study on options for wool use.Ensure afforestation scheme funds are used to encourage farmers to plant a portion of their holdings with commercial broadleaf or native woodlands.
SchemesThe INHFA are calling for an overall commitment of €300m for agri-environmental schemes in Budget 2021, to allow for the roll-over of GLAS to facilitate the 24,658 farmers currently in Tranche 1 and provide enough funding to commence the new REPS.
An increased Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) budget allocation of €25m to deliver a total budget of €275m. State to provide a budget of €120m/year to pay farmers and landowners affected by the increase in the area of land designated SAC and SPA.Increasing the number of places in the Rural Social Scheme by 500 and a doubling of the weekly top up payment from €22.50 up to €45.
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