The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) are calling for an immediate Covid 19 pandemic stability scheme for primary producers of suckler beef and lamb to be rolled out by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).The Association President, Colm O’Donnell stated, “I’m insisting that Minister Creed reacts swiftly to the statement coming from the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski who announced, that he has given EU member states the flexibility to put Pillar 2 Schemes in place to support farmers affected by the Covid19 crisis”.

“All farmers are affected by the necessary restrictions introduced by Government to fight the virus and the farming community are playing a vital role in ensuring the food supply chain remains intact.” This is why, continued O’Donnell “all primary producers of suckler beef and lamb must be included for direct support as indicated in the commissioners statement.

The INHFA President went on to say, “we need a simple scheme comparable in structure to the existing Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme which makes provision for costs incurred, income foregone and additional transaction costs associated with carrying out farming in a constrained environment”.

Concluding, the farm leader urged the Minister to put a Covid 19 family farm stabilisation scheme in place for primary producers without delay and suggested using a simple process linked to making a valid 2020 Basic Payment Scheme(BPS) application,

• satisfying the Active Farmer definition,
• justifying payment on additional Covid19 associated transaction costs incurred by suckler cow and sheep farmers
• paid on an area based model up to the national average family farm size of 34 hectares.

He continued by stating ” it is the view of the INHFA that all farmers are affected by Government restrictions and all farmers must be treated equally and fairly to help all Irish family farms through these unprecedented times”.