The IFA rural development committee has elected a new chair to take over from Joe Brady.

Michael Biggins from Co Mayo will take up his new position at the IFA annual general meeting on Monday 27 January.

Biggins is a suckler beef farmer from Glencorrib and has been involved in the IFA for over 20 years. The farmer has served as Mayo county chair, vice-chair of the livestock committee, the chair of south Mayo LEADER and other community groups.

He said the challenges facing rural Ireland are immense and he outlined the need for a “strongly-funded” CAP.

The new chair’s key priorities are:

  • Enhancing farm schemes in the next RDP so that they have a greater impact in supporting farm incomes.
  • Restoring agri-environmental schemes to a level which existed under REPS with an overall payment of €10,000.
  • Continuing on progress made on ANC payment increases over the past two years and to increase payments by 20% in the next RDP.
  • Ensuring greater support for inter-generational transfers by having increased young farmer payments and incentives for older farmers to retire.
  • The continuation of a well-supported farm investment TAMS scheme with higher grant aid.
  • Reducing the bureaucracy attached to many schemes with the introduction of a yellow card system to allow farmers rectify any issues found on Department inspections.
  • He called on the next minister for agriculture and the new EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janus Wojciechowski to stand up and “fearlessly defend” the Irish and European family farm model.

    After the election, Biggins thanked Joe Brady for his work, in particular for the protection of the ANC scheme in the EU-wide review.

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