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Hill farmers accuse IFA of ‘a sell out’

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Brendan Joyce . . . Commonage farmers have been let down.

THIRTEEN prominent IFA representatives along the western seaboard have accused their organisation at national level of having ‘sold out’ hill and commonage farmers by agreeing to Dept. of Agriculture proposals for the new GLAS environmental scheme.

The revolt against the IFA ‘top brass’ follows a meeting earlier this month in Mayo attended by representatives from every hill branch in that county as well as representatives from Galway and Sligo.

The meeting heard how the IFA at a national level ‘changed their initial position from being totally opposed to a collective agreement on the commonages to the point where they agreed to a 50% collective agreement and a payment of €79/ha on Natura land.

They said that all of this was done without consultation with the Hill and Rural Development committees of the IFA, who had been given a clear mandate to reject any form of a collective agreement.

The statement goes on: “The origins of this mandate goes back to a meeting held on May 20 in Athlone that was attended by hill committee members and prominent IFA representatives from Mayo, Sligo, Galway, Leitrim, Kerry, West Cork, Waterford, Louth and Donegal.

Also present were the IFA president, general secretary, the national hill chairman and rural development secretary.

At this meeting it was made crystal clear that any form of collective agreement would be totally unacceptable as Tier 1 priority entry to the GLAS Scheme. This subsequently became IFA policy.

“The shift in position by the negotiation team on the collective agreement happened when they gave in to Minister Coveney during final talks on the RDP. This was weak and showed a total disrespect for the root and branch protocol that the association trumpets as their strength on the ground.

For more on this see this week’s Connacht Tribune

Environment

Farmers willing to play part on climate measures

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Pat Murphy.

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

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Environment

July ticked all the right boxes for farmers

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Brendan Geraghty: A perfect July 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.

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Environment

Drought conditions still prevail but a change is on the way

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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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