” Minister cannot be bullied into walking away from a deal that protects the majority of Irish farmers,” says INHFA

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association are calling on the Minister to stay at the table and ensure the best interests of Irish farmers are represented in the ongoing CAP negotiations.

Speaking after a meeting between Minister McConalogue and the farming organisations INHFA President Colm O’Donnell outlined his dismay at the suggestion made by some farm organisations that the Minister should walk away from the talks.

It is stated O’Donnell “disappointing that most of our farming organisations continue to work against a deal that delivers for the majority of Irish farmers. The deal currently on the table as outlined to us is a convergence model of 85%, with the option of a front-loaded payment through the Complementary Redistributive Income Support Scheme (CRISS).”

“While not ideal we do acknowledge that it is a move in the right direction” added O’Donnell

In assessing the 85% convergence option the INHFA leader stated “how our analysis of DAFM figures indicate that almost 50,000 farmers will gain with 42,000 seeing no real impact. With a front-loaded option included, farmers with high value entitlements with small amounts of hectares would be insulated from the effects of convergence.”

On this basis O’Donnell stressed it is “staggering to think that the other organisations which attended the meeting are working against the introduction of a front loaded option as allowed through the CRISS. Many of these organisations have for years championed the need to protect farmers on higher payments but with smaller farm sizes and what they do. First chance they get, they throw them under the bus.”

There is, he maintained “the potential through the CRISS to help the sizeable number of farmers with 32ha or less (average farm size). A CRISS payment of €80/ha on the first 15ha is possible through a linear cut of 10% of the Pillar 1 budget and the capping of all Pillar 1 payments at €60,000. Even with 85% convergence these farmers would see a Pillar 1 payment of €300/ha.”

In stressing the need for a fair redistribution of Pillar 1 payments the INHFA President stated “how this can be best done through 100% convergence and a front-loaded payment option which will benefit over 60% of farmers.

In concluding he expressed the hope that “the Minister will stay at the table and negotiate a deal that delivers for the vast majority of farmers and their farm families and the rural communities they are part of.”