Tillage farmers are facing a third successive hit to their incomes following the announcement by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to allocate a combined 35% of Pillar I funding to eco schemes and the Complementary Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS).
IFA grain chair Mark Browne said the decision to use 10% of funds for CRISS is the third successive blow to commercial tillage farmers, following the earlier decisions on 85% internal convergence and flat-rate eco schemes in the CAP 2023-2027 proposals.
“According to Teagasc research, tillage farmers in Ireland are 80% dependent on direct payments for their income. Tillage farmers were hardest hit in the last CAP. The area devoted to tillage dropped by 20% as a result,” he said.
Browne said confidence has only just returned to the tillage sector in 2021, with the planted cereal area increasing by 3.71%. Growers experienced the combination of good yields, high prices and favourable weather conditions at harvest time.
“A vibrant tillage sector is critical in helping Irish agriculture reach its upcoming environmental and biodiversity targets in the coming decade. The area under tillage cannot afford to drop back by 20% again as happened under the last reforms,” Browne said.
“Whilst the addition of extra funding under the Protein Aid Scheme and the introduction of the Straw Incorporation Measure into Pillar II funding are steps in the right direction, more support will be needed to offset the income lost through decisions in Pillar I.
“We urgently want to sit down in person with Minister McConalogue and discuss the effects these CAP proposals will have on commercial tillage farmers and the wider tillage industry,” the chair concluded.