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Farmers welcome review of Greenway

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Michael Keaveny from Glenamaddy and Jarlath Rattigan from Dunmore in jovial mood at Tuam Mart. PHOTO: JOHNNY RYAN PHOTOGRAPHY.

THE vast majority of farmers in East Galway have welcomed the decision to temporarily abandon plans for a walking and cycling Greenway passing through their lands.

The proposed Greenway from Ballinasloe to Galway passed through agricultural holdings and farmers feared that it would split their lands in two.

They voiced their opposition to the Greenway at various consultation meetings on the grounds that it would interfere with their farming activities.

As a result of their vehement opposition to the plan, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has decided to shelve this section of the coast to coast greenway for the time being.

But Pat Murphy, Chairman of Galway IFA, said that he was in favour of a greenway but not if it split farmers’ lands. “We have suggested possible alternatives and they should be investigated,” he said.

It is planned to provide an off-road cycle greenway from Dublin to Galway. The section from Dublin to Athlone is mainly along the Grand Canal which is publicly owned lands.

The section from Athlone to Ballinasloe is mainly through bogland but after that it was planned to provide the greenway though farmland. Senior Galway County Council officials claimed that around 40% of farmers were in support of the route.

But Mr Murphy disputes this claim and told the Farming Tribune that he had not come across any support for the Greenway when it came to the affected land owners. “That is not a true reflection of the attitude out there,” he remarked.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe decided to postpone plans for the Galway section of the cross-country greenway following the presentation of a report by the National Roads Authority.

The report revealed that the majority of landowners in Galway were opposed to the route as it would split land and farms.

The Government will now proceed with completing a 43 kilometre section of the greenway between Maynooth and Westmeath.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Move sought on scheme to promote growing of catch crops

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Stephen Canavan: Scheme needed on catch crops.

THE Dept. of Agriculture has been urged to ‘move swiftly’ and introduce an incentive scheme for the growing of ‘catch crops’ this Summer to help any potential Winter feed shortages.

Galway IFA Chairman, Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that such a scheme would be easy to introduce and would incentivise farmers to grow catch crops such as rape and kale.

“These crops would provide a high-quality feed for stock during the early Winter period and would also give farmers the opportunity to reseed land for next year,” said Stephen Canavan.

He said that while the Fodder Support Scheme (FSS) would be a welcome help to farmers, more assistance from the Dept. of Agriculture would be required to ensure that there were no feed shortages over the coming Winter season.

Fast growing catch crops – such as rape and kale – can be sown in mid to late Summer and still be ready for feeding by the early Winter period.

However, last week, National IFA Chair, Paul O’Brien, hit out at the EU Commission for delivering ‘mixed messages’ in terms of their policy on farmers producing more grain and fodder crops.

He said that while last month, the EU were encouraging farmers to grow more crops for feed, they were at the same time pressing ahead with proposals for reductions in the use of pesticides – essential for crop protection.

“Commissioner Wojciechowski was explicit when he addressed our National Council last month: ‘the EU Farm to Fork policy will have to be re-visited in light of food security concerns.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Challenge is to keep farmers in profit while changing their ways

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Michael Hayden: Bleak 2022 income prospects for many farmers.

“IT’S hard to be green when in the red,” sums up the challenge faced by many farmers over the coming years, according to a leading Irish academic.

Michael Hayden, Assistant Professor of Accounting at Maynooth University, has warned that farmers face a major challenge when trying to balance economic sustainability with environmental sustainability.

“If we want to maintain a sustainable food supply, economic sustainability should not be sacrificed for environmental sustainability.

“Instead, the focus should be on educating farmers and changing work practices to meet the dual agenda of economic and environmental sustainability,” said Michael Hayden.

Writing in the latest edition of the Teagasc TResearch magazine, he points out that many of the farm enterprises in Ireland are ‘financially vulnerable’ with a high reliance on subsidies to provide financial support.

He said that this was particularly the case for beef, sheep and tillage farmers with 87% of beef farmers, 75% of sheep farmers, and 63% of tillage farmers, acknowledging in the 2021 Irish Farm Report, that their enterprises did not provide them with an adequate income.

“With rising costs of farm inputs, such as fuel, fertiliser and feed, placing additional pressure on profit margins for food producers, the outlook for 2022 farm incomes is bleak.

“Recent events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have also increased the complexity of this situation, placing renewed focus on the necessity of having a sustainable food supply,” said Mr. Hayden.

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

Cautious welcome for fodder aid scheme

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Pat Murphy: Scheme should be open to all farmers.

THERE has been a guarded welcome for the Fodder Support Scheme from farm representatives – after an initial hiccup over the exclusion of hill farmers.

Now, according to Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, farmers with Category 1 lands in ANC areas – essentially hill farmers – will be eligibility to draw the payments: €100 per hectare up to a maximum of €1,000.

Connacht IFA Regional Chair, Pat Murphy, told the Farming Tribune that hill farmers should never have been excluded in the scheme in the first place but at least the situation had been remedied following the U-turn by the Minister and the Department.

“In our view the scheme should have been open to all applicants – dairy farmers are still excluded – given the rocketing costs of fertiliser, meal and fuel.

“The scheme will be a help to farmers, but we feel strongly that more aid will be required given the current situation with costs – and also what’s being projected over the coming months,” said Pat Murphy.

He advised farmers to ensure that by the end of the silage season they all had enough fodder in their yards to see them through the Winter ahead.

“You just never know what kind of Winter or Spring we will get – the key thing for every farmer is to have that bit extra in reserve just in case a worst-case scenario emerges,” said Pat Murphy.

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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