Macra na Feirme has welcomed the Department of Agriculture’s announcement that some farmers will be permitted to read questions aloud on the two remaining town hall-style CAP consultation meetings.

The Department has said that changes have been made to the format of Wednesday and Thursday’s consultation webinars, with a selection of pre-submitted farmer queries to be put to Department officials, dependent on time constraints.

Macra has joined other groups in criticising the approach taken by the Department on the structure of Tuesday’s webinar. It described the event as “misleading” farmers on the input they could have on the draft proposals for the CAP Strategic Plan for 2023-2027.

The structure of Tuesday’s webinar only allowed questions to be submitted via the meeting’s chat function, which did not allow questions to be viewed by other attendees.

Speaking on the recently announced changes to the webinars, Macra national president John Keane said that Tuesday’s event had not helped young farmers, who he said had been largely excluded from the CAP reform process.

“The recently announced changes are a step in the right direction as meaningful consultation, engagement and discussion with farmers is essential,” commented Keane.

“Young farmers need their voices heard properly and constructively and the initial format greatly underwhelmed in this regard,” he added.

Farm walks

Macra na Feirme held the first of the organisation’s series of farm walks this Tuesday on the farm of the body’s agricultural affairs chair Shane Fitzgerald.

The walks are intended to allow young farmers to make their opinions on the CAP Strategic Plan known to Macra.

“Getting the actual views of our members has and is hugely important to Macra na Feirme and all members and farmers are encouraged to come to our farm walks and have their say,” Keane said.