Divided views on sheep and dairy supports

The Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine is due to hear IFA suggestions on supports for sheep farmers and income volatility in the dairy sector.

Committee chairman Andrew Doyle said: “We look forward to hearing from the IFA on topics on the Knowledge Transfer Programme and TAMS availability to those working in the sheep sector.

“The level of unpredictability in income in dairy is also a key issue for this committee and for farmers around the country.”

This meeting follows the committee’s publication of a report entitled Managing Market Volatility in the Dairy Industry. This report examined the abolition of dairy quotas.

IFA president Eddie Downey heads up the IFA group at this afternoon’s meeting, to be broadcast live on oireachtas.ie.

Meanwhile, IFA sheep chairman John Lynskey will attend the new Reflection group’s meetings in Brussels during November to examine the future of the sheep meat sector.

However, ICSA president Patrick Kent has called on all Irish farm organisations to clarify their position on giving extra Government funds to dairy farmers only.

Mr Kent said beef and sheep farmers will not lie down if additional Government funds are used to top up the dairy compensation package from Brussels.

“Cattle and sheep farmers cannot believe how heaven and earth has been moved to get money for dairy farmers on the back of six months of difficult trading, yet no funds could be found to help beef farmers who had an appalling year in 2014.

“Moreover, dairy incomes are regularly three to five times higher per hectare than cattle and sheep incomes, yet scarce funds are being used to give a dig-out to the highest income sector. Now there is talk of topping up the Brussels money with Government money and the suggestion is that all of this will go to dairy farmers.”

The ICSA wants fairness in the way income crisis supports are distributed between sectors, with cattle, sheep and dairy farmers getting equal treatment.


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