Hogan said the Russian ban had locked out €5.2bn of EU farm produce. To help with the resulting oversupply and price crisis, he pledged to work simultaneously on negotiating with Moscow on restoring trade, developing exports of non-embargoed products to Russia and opening new markets elsewhere in 2016.

The commissioner also promised to “watch the Mercosur talks like a hawk” as free-trade negotiations with South American countries progress – many of them our competitors on meat markets.

Hogan also commented that a recent WTO agreement on banning all export subsidies in the coming years was “much more significant than people might understand”.

CAP simplification

The commissioner told the Irish Farmers Journal that CAP simplification would be another of his priorities this year, with plans to introduce a “yellow card system” for farm inspections to give farmers a chance to correct minor errors on their applications after they hand them in.

Hogan also discussed proposals to tackle insufficient access to credit for Irish farmers, especially young people, and the “disconnect” observed in food pricing across supply chains.

Read the full interview with European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan here or in this week’s print edition.