IFA president Tim Cullinan said there must be real negotiation with farmers now about the new strategic plan, along with the other key issues such as sectoral targets under the Climate Act, the Nitrates Action Programme and the allocation of €1.5bn in carbon tax funds committed to in the programme for government.

“We are getting sick of these meaningless consultation processes. IFA puts huge work into replying to consultations, which appear to go into a black hole. We need negotiation, not just consultation. Our livelihoods are on the line,” he said.

“The CAP, sectoral climate targets, the nitrates directive and carbon tax funding will directly affect farmers’ incomes. The Government needs to sit down with farmers and treat us with respect instead of lumping us in with other ‘stakeholders’ who have no skin in the game.

“Farmers understand the climate challenge and we can deliver a lot. However, I believe a lot more can be achieved through negotiation rather than through these consultation processes, which are effectively a box-ticking exercise to give the Government carte blanche to do whatever they like,” Cullinan added.

“Farmers want to engage constructively, but the goalposts keep moving. We had Ag Climatise and the Agri-Food Strategy 2030. Now we are told that these will be superseded by sectoral targets.

“Farming is a business and farmers need certainty. The Government must sit down with us to negotiate a plan,” he concluded.