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Welcome To The Irish Natura And Hill Farmers Association Website


The INHFA was established in Feb 2015 to represent farmers on hill designated and environmentally valuable land. The organisation strives to keep the family farm viable and ensure the farming way of life that has evolved in regions like ours is valued from both an agricultural & environmental point of view.

The INHFA is a nationwide organisation and aims to highlight the challenges faced by farmers in the more marginalised areas of the country.

"Seeking Fairness Not Favouritism"


Sustainable suckler farming cannot be the scapegoat on Climate action

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have welcomed comments made by Minister McConalogue in support of our suckler sector.

Speaking on this INHFA Vice President Micheal McDonnell stressed the need to protect this sector adding that “any further decline in the sector won’t just impact on the farmers but risks undermining the economic wellbeing of many rural communities.”

Our suckler sector is, he stated “under serious threat due to ongoing demands to reduce cow numbers in order to deliver on the climate change targets.” This need is, he maintained “taking precedence over everything else including reasoned discussion on the benefits of suckler farming from a socio-economic and environmental perspective.”

In assessing our farming systems and specifically the suckler sector it is stressed McDonnell vital that we consider the following

• “With suckler farming dominant in many parts of the country where other farming options are not realistic due to constraints such as soil type, terrain and fragmented holdings. Then what impact assessment (both social and economic) has been conducted on any further reduction in suckler numbers across these communities. Will there be a future for our Marts in those areas?

• As suckler farming is predominantly extensive in nature, why has there been a reluctance to take on board the EU Commission Report titled ‘Grazing for Carbon’ This report has clearly identified the merits of extensive farming systems in relation to sequestering carbon and could provide a vital marketing opportunity for suckler beef.

• Currently Bord Bia have a marketing budget of €2m/year for the promotion of naturally reared suckler beef. If we continue to label suckler cows as an issue in relation to climate change and force or encourage a reduction, then this will clearly undermine the promotion of suckler beef.

• There is, we believe, a massive opportunity to market naturally reared suckler beef, both from an environmentally sustainable and animal husbandry perspective. To do this we will need to differentiate it from other beef options, but we are concerned there isn’t an appetite with Bord Bia or our Meat Processors to do this. However, it is important that they clarify this.

• Finally, in relation to climate change, it is vital that we act on the evidence and address these issues in the areas where the EPA tells us the problems are. This is not in the areas where suckler farming dominates.”

Concluding, the INHFA Vice President stressed the need to protect our suckler sector and stated that “the INHFA will not support any cull of our suckler cows.”


Nature Restoration Law
Impacts on Rural Communities could be devastating...

When we assess this regulation we need to fully appreciate the impact it will have on property rights. This regulation isn’t just saying what you can’t do (which is where we are with the SAC ; SPA designations) it is clearly stating what you must do and this is a significant change. Because if someone (either in Ireland or Brussels) can tell you what to do with your property – then you don’t have control and while you might have a Title Deed, without control then it’s not really yours.

No doubt there are some that will view this as an issue for farmers on peat lands (both lowland and upland) but they and everyone else needs to recognise the dangerous precedent being set, that in time could impact all farmers and property owners. Land and the control of land is a very emotive issue with Irish people – this regulation which many farmers will see as nothing more than a land-grab will be fought and won. Please read the full regulation here...... Proposal for a Regulation on nature restoration (pdf file)

Key Priorities

  • GLAS

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