AGRICULTURE Minister, Simon Coveney, has been accused by farmers of ‘a sneaky move’ to save money for the Government with his proposal not to start the new GLAS environmental scheme until September, 2015.
With the new CAP starting off from January 1, 2015, farm leaders had pressed for this date also as the start-up for GLAS, a scheme that carries a maximum standard payment of €5,000 per annum.
IFA National President, Eddie Downey said that such a September start-up date for GLAS would end up taking over €3,300 out of farmers’ pockets next year and was totally unacceptable.
“Paying a part-payment from September, as Minister Coveney suggests, will mean that those farmers who qualify will only get a maximum payment of €1,666 for 2015. This compares to the full year payment of €5,000 which the Minister promised when the plan was sent to Brussels earlier this month,” said Eddie Downey.
He warned that such a move would lead to significant income pressures on thousands of farms throughout the country who will have finished their REPS agri-environment schemes.
“I am calling on the Minister to put all his efforts into ensuring the earliest start-up date for applications and payment.
Thousands of mainly livestock farmers are dependent on direct supports, which underpin low farm income and supports agricultural production which impacts on the rural economy,” said the IFA President.
Co. Galway IFA Chairman, Pat Murphy, told the Farming Tribune that the news coming from Simon Coveney was ‘devastating’, especially for small West of Ireland livestock farmers.
“There is just something very sneaky about the way this is being done. It just seems to be a stealthy way to save money for the Government – there is absolutely no reason why this scheme cannot be up and running by January 1, 2015,” said Pat Murphy.
He said that the clear understand all along between the IFA and Minister Coveney was that GLAS would kick-in from the beginning of 2015.
“This is a calculated to save money at the expense of the most vulnerable section of the farming community,” said Pat Murphy.
IFA National Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said that the priority for the Minister must be to ensure that in the forthcoming October 2015 Budget sufficient funds were available to fund GLAS from the start of the year.
“This payment has to be meaningful and not at the level as is being suggested by the Minister,” said Flor McCarthy.
Farmers willing to play part on climate measures
FARMERS in the West of Ireland are more than willing to play their part in tackling the issue of climate change but due recognition must be given to their ongoing progress in reducing emissions, Connacht IFA Chair Pat Murphy said this week.
His comments come in the wake of the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – released this week – which has warned that climate change is ‘widespread, rapid and intensifying’.
“We all have to face up to the climate change issue – it cannot be ignored – but as a country Ireland is in a position to produce food in a very, very environmentally friendly way,” said Pat Murphy.
He added that over recent months the role that Irish farms played in acting as carbon sinks was at last being recognised by different organisations.
“We are ready and willing to play our parts in a food production chain that’s environmentally friendly and sustainable.
“But as farmers we will need the support, back-up and recognition of central Government in our ongoing efforts to play our part in this,” said Pat Murphy.
Earlier this week, IFA President Tim Cullinan said that Irish farmers can be a big part of climate action by using ‘our natural advantage to produce carbon efficient foods’ and also in the production of renewable energy on farms.
He said the recent change to the Climate Bill, which recognised the carbon storage capabilities of Irish farms, was an important acknowledgement that farmers can contribute towards making Ireland net carbon zero by 2050.
Read full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
July ticked all the right boxes for farmers
JULY turned out to be a pretty much ideal month for farming with up to 25 dry days in places while the bulk of the rainfall was ‘delivered’ in two downpours over one weekend.
Abbeyknockmoy weather recorder, Brendan Geraghty, said that his rainfall total for the month of 2.95 inches (75mms.) was below the average for July – but this told only half the story.
Significant rainfall occurred only on six days during our seventh month with two big downpours on the evening of Friday the 19th – and through the day on the following Sunday, the 21st.
“I suppose overall July would have to be regarded as an excellent month as indeed was the Summer overall.
“We tended to get the rainfall in concentrated bursts but we had a lot of fine and pleasant days during the month that enabled farmers to get a lot of work done,” said Brendan Geraghty.
For full story see this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Drought conditions still prevail but a change is on the way
DESPITE the western region faring better than many other parts of the country in terms of July rainfall, major concerns have been expressed in Galway over the winter feed situation.
The most significant break in the drought pattern came on the weekend of July 15 last with over 20mms. of rainfall arriving in some parts of the county including the Met Éireann station in Athenry.
Ardrahan dairy farmer, Pat Murphy, said that while the rains of that weekend had been a help, many farmers across the county were still facing into a very serious feed and fodder situation.
“The rain we got – particularly what fell on Sunday week last [July 15] – was welcome and it did green up the place a bit, but the overall grass situation remains critical.
“Like a lot of other farmers I know, I am paying big money every week buying in extra ration to try and ‘stretch out’ the grass but there just seems to be no end in sight to the drought – and the Summer is passing.
“The date for a second cut of silage is now going back well into September. Farmers would need to have their second cut taken in the first week or so of September to allow them spread fertiliser for late grazing before the deadline [Sept. 15] for spreading nitrogen arrives,” said Pat Murphy.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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