The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association are holding a rally in the Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny on Friday, 25th of January starting at 8 pm.

This rally will highlight the proposed changes in the next round of CAP payments which will have a huge impact on farmers in the next 6 years.

INHFA National President Colm O’Donnell stated that “as a relatively new organisation which was formed due to the dissatisfaction with the last CAP deal we are determined that we have our say this time round.”

He then outlined concerns INHFA have around new conditions that farmers will be obliged to adhere to in order to get their Basic Payment. These conditions he stated “if implemented will have major implications for many farmers in the west that are farming on wetlands or peat lands, often referred to as carbon rich soils.”

O’Donnell then added “how these CAP proposals could easily lead to a situation where intensive farmers on dryer soils would be allowed drive on and increase production while farmers on the hills and lowland farmers on wetter soils would be expected to protect the environment and take on the full burden of climate change through carbon sequestration measures.” All of this he continued “for the same or possibly less money than they are receiving now through all their CAP payments with the added risk of losing these payments if they don’t meet the conditions set out.”

On the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) which has undergone a full review O’Donnell stressed the importance of ensuring how the payment bands needs to reflect the constraint. This he continued has being the consistent view of the organisation stating “how the review needs to address this.”

He concluded by encouraging farmers to turn up on the night and send a message to our Minister and those in Brussels, on the need for better supports and fairer conditions for those farmers on the most environmentally sensitive land with the highest level of land constraint.