The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association have called out Government policy that they maintain is a serious threat to the future of the family farm.
Speaking on this National President Vincent Roddy outlined how Government inaction continues to undermine our livestock sectors and warned of a very bleak autumn and winter if immediate action is not taken.
In the last number of weeks, we have stated Roddy “seen mart and factory prices tumble for both cattle and sheep and the fear is that this trend could continue.” This he added “comes on the back of rising costs and concerns around fodder supplies. These concerns are driven by poor harvest conditions and the potential cost of animal feed as uncertainty continues due to the war in Ukraine.”
For our suckler, beef and sheep farmers Roddy detailed how the overwhelming mood is one of despair but also stated that “there is also a strong sense of betrayal, with many seeing Government inaction as a means of pushing them out.”
While the Minister and Government will no doubt refute this and point to the two suckler schemes and the sheep scheme they have put in place, these are he stressed “totally inadequate and will do nothing to support farmer income”
It is, he continued, “essential that the Minister now goes back to the Cabinet and delivers the necessary support to pay at least €30/ewe and €200/cow through schemes that are easily available for farmers to access.”
“With delayed CAP payments this Autumn and concern around the ability of the Department to make all of these payments on the dates outlined, there needs to be recognition at Government level of the precarious situation now facing many livestock farmers, stated the INHFA leader.
On this basis, we must, he maintained “look to get them the financial support essential for them to continue and a direct support based on ewe and suckler cow numbers can contribute towards this.”
The INHFA President also pointed to the wider economic benefits attributed to our suckler, beef and sheep sectors and the vital role our family farms have at the heart of rural communities. This he stated “is a defining moment for the Government. If they are not willing to provide immediate adequate support to these sectors, then it is not just the family farm that will suffer.”
In concluding Roddy stressed how the question is now very clear. “Is the Cabinet and all Government TD’s and Senators willing to back our farmers and the rural communities that they support, or by doing nothing, are they trying to encourage an exit from these sectors.”