Big headline numbers mean very little if they don’t end up in farmers’ pockets.
In the last number of weeks and months we’ve seen grant aid for on-farm investment become a very small percentage of any on-farm investment, as inflationary input cost increases soar past any Department costings.
Similarly, changes in the VAT goalposts mean the net cost of some investments have dramatically changed for the farmer. We’ve seen the much-lauded lime scheme fall flat on its face, with only 35% payment claim accounted for as a mixture of weather and bureaucracy have limited its effectiveness.
We’ve seen a multi-million euro forestry scheme barely get off the ground and a much maligned renewable energy sector stumble and stutter.
While the Christmas bounce in beef and sheep prices is much welcomed, the reality and accountability of other announcements needs careful examination.
Farmers awaiting vital BISS, CRISS and ANC payments will be expecting payment issues to be resolved when balancing payments commence on 1 December.
Science wins on glyphosate
The EU safety authorities clearly suggest that evolving and comprehensive science results deem the active substance in the many brands of glyphosate safe.
The news of the reapproval that came late last week should be the start of a campaign to continue to deter its misuse by individual farmers or local authorities around Ireland.
It is now regulation, and proper guidelines should be clearly communicated so that pesticide usage is reduced in the EU.
The European Commission said last week that its reapproval was based on comprehensive safety assessments by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
However, it left the door open if new science emerged that suggested that if glyphosate didn’t meet safety thresholds, immediate action would be taken.