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Credit Unions can fill loan gap

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Michael Culkeen . . . Farmers are most welcome customers.

FARMERS finding it difficult to get credit from the main banks and financial institutions have been advised this week that the Credit Union outlets in Galway are ‘more than willing’ to provide loans.

Last month, the IFA – along with a number of retail concerns – said that farmers and small businesses were being denied badly needed credit by the main banks.

The IFA also accused the banks of imposing unreasonable conditions in situations where farmers had sought to put refinancing arrangments in place.

However this week, one of the region’s leading credit unions said that farmers would find that the Credit Union movement a very willing partner in terms of credit and loan facilities.

Michael Culkeen, Manager of Tuam Credit Union, told the Farming Tribune that many small to medium sized farmers had found loans difficult to access from banks.

“Many of these are people who have credit union accounts as they are. These are people who are honest, straightforward and hard working – our doors are open for business to these people,” said Michael Culkeen.

He said that through the thick and thin of the financial crisis since 2008, the amount of default in farming debt continued to be very low.

“While some of the bigger commercial farmers have been able to access credit, the smaller operator – with maybe 20 cattle and fifty sheep – has not been accommodated by the banks.

“The Credit Union movement want to get the message out there that if such members of the farming community want to finance some project, that we are very much in the business of being able to help them out,” said Michael Culkeen.

The IFA along with the Vintners Federation, the Property Owners Association and the RGDATA retail group, said last month that farmers and other small businesses were enduring high levels of stress due to the credit squeeze.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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.

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Connacht Tribune

Suckler cap has to go in new plan

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Connacht IFA Chairman, Pat Murphy

A LEADING West of Ireland IFA representative has called on the Minister for Agriculture and his Department to move away from ‘pretend negotiations and pre-loaded questions’ if progress is to be made with the new CAP proposals.

Connacht IFA Chairman, Pat Murphy, called on Minister Charlie McConalogue, to get on top of the CAP situation by listening to farmers’ views on the ground rather than sticking to any pre-arranged agendas.

“A case in point relates to the proposal on suckler cows which wants to put in place a cap on the cow numbers based on a given reference year.

“There’s no way that suckler cow numbers are going to shoot up dramatically in Ireland over the coming years – suckler cow farming is most definitely not the problem in relation to environmental proposals.

“But over the coming years, there may well be young farmers interested in getting into sucklers or there may be farmers whose suckler numbers could have fallen due to disease or health issues – the door must be left open for them,” Pat Murphy told the Farming Tribune.

He said that the whole thrust of the policy should be to support suckler farmers who were the backbone of Ireland’s multi-billion euro meat industry.

“The suckler cow cap must go – it just seems to be some kind of ‘show gesture’ for Europe – but as well as being meaningless it has the potential to do real harm to this sector of farming.

“We also want real commitments as regards Pillar 2 payments with the State’s contribution rising from 47% to 57% to include the introduction of a meaningful suckler cow scheme (€300 per cow).

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.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Changes in dosing regime to be fought

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Stephen Canavan: Prescriptions for dosing is a non-runner.

GALWAY IFA’s Animal Health Representative, Stephen Canavan, has pledged ‘vehement opposition’ to plans coming down the track to bring in prescription regulations for dosing and dipping products.

He told the Farming Tribune that the Department ‘didn’t seem to get it’  in terms of what the implications of such a move would be for farmers across the country.

“In terms of parasitic control for such things as fluke and worms, farmers currently operate under a very routine, traceable and controlled system.

“We are absolutely and vehemently opposed to any changes that will require farmers to only get dosing on a prescription basis, both from a management point of view and the monopoly type market situation that would then apply,” said Stephen Canavan.

He said that common-sense seemed to have ‘gone out the window’ with the Department, citing the example of a prescription being needed for sheep dip to ensure the control of maggots.

“Every sheep farmer knows that sheep need to be dipped to prevent maggots in July – this is purely routine animal welfare that farmers have practised down through the years,” he added.

Stephen Canavan also warned that more restrictive regulations were also being put forward at EU level as regards antibiotic usage on the basis of farmers needing a prescription for each individual dose administered.

“A sheep farmer with 100 ewes, will know that over the course of the lambing season, that he or she will a couple of bottles of penicillin.

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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