Supporting Our Famers

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

01

Price, Markets & Transparency

The beef and sheep sectors are key tenets of Irish agriculture. Ireland’s beef production is underpinned by the 1 million beef suckler cow herd kept on over 70,000 farms, while 34,000 farmers manage over 5 million sheep on the land.

Low income suckler and sheep farmers continue to depend exclusively on direct payments for their livelihoods with average incomes at €13,000 and 17,000 respectively. It is vital to secure increased supports for vulnerable suckler and sheep farmers, who contribute significantly to the economy of rural Ireland and play a key role in conserving land and preventing land abandonment in regions.

East  Galway Agriculture 4
East  Galway Agriculture 5

02

Rural Social Scheme

The Rural Social Scheme and Tús are community based programmes which provide work for people and benefit local towns and villages.  While primarily they exist to get people back to work, there is a huge social inclusion element contained within them.  I am truly convinced of their value and benefits to rural communities.

03

CAP and Disadvantaged Area Payments

CAP payments are the backbone of Irish farming, sustaining rural communities, ensuring food security. Payments make up around 75% of total Irish farm income. We believe that the next CAP must further integrate and safeguard the family farm model of agriculture that places economic, environmental and socially sustainable farming at its heart.

East  Galway Agriculture 6
East  Galway Agriculture 7

04

PGI Status

Irish beef is regarded worldwide as a premium product and it’s about time we secured EU approval of the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for Irish suckler grass-fed beef to enhance promotion as a premium-priced product.  

I will be strongly fighting for PGI status.

05

Encouraging the next generation of farmers.

  • Working with all EU Member States to ensure that the next CAP provides all farmers under 40 access to the same entitlements regardless of when they started farming in order to remove the current discriminatory set up.
  • Demanding that greater flexibility be given to EU Member States regarding education eligibility to enable more young farmers to avail of CAP schemes.
  • Enable Member States to adapt the current Young Farmer Scheme ceiling in order to make additional national exchequer contributions outside of ring-fenced pillar 1 funding and target underspend towards generational renewal incentives.
East  Galway Agriculture 8
East  Galway Agriculture 9

06

Environmentally Sustainable Farming

Environmentally sustainable farming to meet climate change responsibilities

The next CAP must ensure the continuation and expansion of incentives in schemes for environmentally beneficial farming practices to further reduce our carbon footprint.

EU 2030 targets must underpin the need for food security and the central role of exporting countries which have an efficient low carbon footprint food production sector.

 

07

Afforestation

The carbon footprint of Irish farms is one of the lowest in the world. We are committed to developing the forestry sector in Ireland which plays a critical role in reducing Irish carbon emissions.

Afforestation is a vital tool to reduce our carbon footprint with 300,000 hectares of new forests planted since 1990, which have absorbed 18% of Irish agriculture’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Ambitious planting targets for forestry must be achieved with a emphasis put on native broadleaf planting.
  • A proportional planting policy.
  • A proportional planting policy on a national and regional basis is key.

The high sequestration potential of the grass-based agriculture production model in Ireland as well as the high potential of our forests, boglands and other habitats that absorb carbon.

East  Galway Agriculture 10

Protecting and Funding farmers in East Galway

I am committed to protecting and developing agriculture for the farming families in East Galway as the main drivers of the rural economy and the agri-food sector.  I believe in the family farm model of agriculture that places environmentally and socially sustainable farming at its heart. I want to ensure that East Galway is Brexit ready and to do my utmost to protect our agri-food industry.

A fair Price for Farmers

A fair price for farmers is a central plank of Fianna Fáil agriculture policy and is vital to the long term survival and success of the horticulture, beef, sheep, pig, poultry, horticulture and liquid milk sectors.

There are clear imbalances that are undermining its long-term sustainability. Family farmers are increasingly finding it difficult to receive fair prices for their produce. We believe action is now required to ensure that producers can earn a decent living as part of a dynamic and innovative sector.

Fianna Fáil’s plan to ensure a fair price for farmers

  • A National Food Ombudsman
  • Amend consumer law and establish a National Food Ombudsman, to protect primary producers in national law and ensure fairness and equity in the food supply chain.
  • Food supply chain
  • Build support for greater transparency in the food supply chain and break the hold of a small number of players in the interest of food security and the retention of family farming in the EU.
  • A stronger position in Europe
  • Seek specific EU legislation to regulate and prohibit certain unfair trading practices in order to strengthen the position of farmers in the food supply chain, while working towards common EU wide enforcement rules and coordination measures among Member State enforcement authorities.
  • Explore new markets
  • New markets must be opened for our world renowned premium produce.

CAP Payments

CAP – funded, fairer and simpler

Work for a fully funded, fair, and simpler CAP that safeguards direct payments. Everything must be done to resist any reductions in funding post 2020 and ensure the strongest budget is secured. It is also incumbent on Ireland and other Member States to immediately commit to increasing their national contribution to the EU budget to fill any deficit caused by Brexit to ensure CAP funding is not cut under any circumstances.

€60,000 maximum Basic Payment

Introduce a €60,000 maximum basic payment to safeguard small and medium sized farmers. Future CAP reforms should permit Member States to decide on the capping of direct payments at national level. In Ireland, the current payment ceiling should be reduced from €150,000 under the Basic Payment Scheme to €60,000 to ensure that future CAP funds safeguard small and medium sized farmers.

Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme

The Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme ensures the continued use of agricultural lands, the maintaining of the countryside, protection of the environment and promotion of sustainable farming systems. Additional financial resources are necessary to ensure that farmers on the most disadvantaged lands are maintained and lands do not fall into disuse and disrepair.

End to disproportionate penalties

End disproportionate penalties, and ensure fair farm inspections. With the increase in the number and complexity of CAP schemes, more and more penalties are being applied to farmers. The present penalty regime is disproportionate and it needs to be rebalanced in favour of the farmer, except in cases of intentional fraud.

A fair way forward for farmers

The next CAP must ensure all farmers under 40 have access to the same entitlements as farmers over the age of 40. Farming faces a serious demographic challenge as the bulk of the agricultural workforce grows older and retires with the average age of Irish farmers at 56. The long term future of the industry needs fresh blood to rejuvenate it.

The 2013 CAP agreement does not go far enough in achieving the supports necessary to draw in and sustain a new generation of Irish farmers.

 

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Minister must follow through on promise to establish producer organisations

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