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Connemara farmers take protest to Dáil

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Bare pickings for Connemara farmers.

CONNEMARA hill and commonage farmers this week secured a joint meeting with Ministers Simon Coveney and Jimmy Deenihan, over financial losses they could suffer this year in the ‘gap period’ before the new CAP begins next year.

Eight IFA representatives from the Connemara, Mayo and Sligo regions refused to leave the offices of Minister Deenihan on Tuesday until they got a commitment for such a meeting.

Commonage farmers are angry that a new stipulation is proposed to be included for the new GLÁS environmental scheme for new applicants.

According to a spokesman for Connemara IFA, a requirement that 80% of share holders in a commonage have to sign up to a plan for inclusion in AEOS needed to be withdrawn.

He said that if seven out of ten people involved in a commonage wanted to sign up to the GLÁS scheme, while three more refused to co-operate, then the majority couldn’t go ahead and sign up to the scheme.

“This is just a completely unfair condition for those in a commonage who want to be part of a GLÁS scheme – we want this withdrawn as a matter of urgency before the final plans go to Europe,” said the Connemara IFA spokesman.

He said that they also wanted the Duchás environmental scheme carried over for this year, to fill the gap between 2013 and the new CAP next year.

A meeting took place last evening (Wednesday) between the IFA Hill/Commonage representatives and the two Ministers. (See next week’s Farming Tribune for details).

This morning, close on 200 hill farmers from the West are travelling up to Dublin, to protest outside the offices of Ministers Deenihan and Coveney.

Connemara IFA Regional Chairman, Brendan Joyce, said that hill and commonage farmers were completely frustrated at the lack of response from the two ministers over issues that had major consequences for farmers in the region.

Meanwhile farmer anger also boiled over outside Minister Coveney’s office in Dublin over what they is his ‘sleepwalking’ role in the ongoing beef crisis.

The IFA say that Minister Coveney has been completely inactive in terms of tackling the price of beef paid by the meat plant barons. Yesterday, Minister Coveney said that the Department was examining the possibility of legislating for the recognition of producer organisations in the beef sector, and will shortly be launching a consultation with key stakeholder groups in this regard.

“This initiative could provide a vehicle for collective action by farmers in a way that can give them the advantages of scale and market presence, as well as a useful vehicle for transferring technology and expertise to improve profitability at farm level,” said Minister Coveney.

 

Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Green Ribbon walk in Coole

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Galway farmers who took part in the IFA’s Green Ribbon walk

AT long last, it was back to the great outdoors on Sunday last for a party of Galway farmers (pictured) who took part in the IFA’s Green Ribbon walk at Coole Park, Gort.

It was all part of the IFA’s national day out at different venues across the country to promote the concepts of good mental health and people taking care of each other.

With the easing of Covid restrictions, IFA is encouraging families and individuals to get ‘out and about’ as a way of helping to relieving the stresses of daily life.

Close on 40 people took part in the walk through the beautiful grounds of Coole Park and it is hoped to have many more on what should be an unrestricted event next year.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that the walk to promote awareness of mental health issues, represented a return to some form of normality as Ireland gradually came out of the pandemic.

“It was a lovely event to promote mental health and wellbeing among all ages. Already we are looking forward to next year’s walk when we hope to have a lot more people taking part,” said Anne Mitchell.

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Connacht Tribune

Bord Bia say demand is ‘on the up’ for quality assured lambs

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Market growing for quality assured Irish lamb.

WHILE 95% of Irish beef is quality assured (QA) at the point of slaughter, the comparable figure for Irish lamb is only 60%, according to the latest Farmer Newsletter from the Bord Bia Quality Assured body.

It pointed out that while QA status on Irish lamb has been important on the domestic market for some time, there has recently been growing interest from key EU customers in securing quality assured Irish lamb.

“Purchasers of Irish lamb products are increasingly looking for proof that meat is produced sustainably on farms that are certified members of an accredited quality assurance scheme.

“Such a quality assurance scheme is to be based on sustainability principles incorporating environmental, social and economic aspects,” the newsletter states.

It also stated the importance of presenting lambs for slaughter that meet customer specifications as regards weight limits and fat cover.

The current specification from the major processors is generally for R grading lambs or better with a fat score of 3 and a carcase weight of 21kg, according to Bord Bia.

They state that upper carcase weight limits can vary across the year from 20kg-23kg, with ‘no economic sense’ in keeping lambs to heavier carcase weights if they can be finished sooner.

“Killing a lamb with adequate fat cover is also essential to meet customer requirements, and in recent weeks, some reports have indicated an increase in the number of under-finished lambs being presented for slaughter due to deadweight prices coming under pressure.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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