Tillage farmer representatives have expressed their disappointment at remarks made by the Tirlán CEO, Jim Bergin last week with regard to other sectors’ impacts on water quality.

The Irish Grain Growers’ Group (IGGG) has told the Irish Farmers Journal it was disappointed with the comments made by Jim Bergin in front of the European Commissioner where no discussion could take place. The IGGG participates in the Water Quality Working Group and was in attendance at the meeting with the European Commissioner.

Chair Bobby Miller said the IGGG appreciates that Tirlán has been a frontrunner in adding value to Irish grain, but commented that the co-op pays a sustainability payment to dairy farmers, but not to tillage farmers.

“If they’re serious about improving all sectors [contribution to water quality] then perhaps Tirlán should take steps like they have with their dairy farmers on a sustainability payment for native Irish grain.”

Miller said the agricultural industry needs to consider a payment like that as part of a collective solution.

He added that tillage farmers have also been impacted by the new nitrates rules.

IFA grain chair Kieran McEvoy said he was disappointed with the comments and said it was “not helpful” to start pitting one sector against another. He said: “All sectors have to work together to improve water quality, some more than others.”