When farmers get talking, there are a few issues that will get three out of four excited.
They are far from happy with publication of their EU direct payments, with 78% of the 569 farmers surveyed as part of the Irish Examiner ICMSA farming survey agreeing this is is an unfair invasion of their privacy.
It’s not heard to reason why 63% of those surveyed strongly agree with the statement, and 15% slightly agree.
The information being made freely available on a publicly accessible website angered farmers.
If there was some sort of restriction on who could access the information, perhaps farmers might not be as angered.
Their organisations argued that publishing direct payment information would arouse the interest of criminals who target rural dwellers.
Farmers have said they are not against transparency, or the right of EU taxpayers to check what payments farmers get, but their security concerns are genuine.
Another sore point: suggestions that Irish farmers should cut back production in order to reduce global warming are not well received.
Three out of four in the survey disagreed with the suggestion that Irish farmers should cut back their production to reduce global warming (51% strongly disagreed, 24% slightly disagreed).
Paradoxically, although agriculture accounts for a relatively very high 32% of greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland, our grass-based production system makes Irish livestock farming more environmentally sustainable than some systems in other countries.
Our farmers know we have the climate to grow grass, and environmentally friendly systems — so why should they reduce production?
Farmers are also annoyed at how strictly the Department of Agriculture implements EU legislation, with 73% of those surveyed agreeing that the Department is too strict (51% “strongly agree”, 22% “agree”).
Perhaps the claw back of money by the Department where payments were overclaimed on ineligible lands is partly to blame for the anger.
Three out of four farmers are also against the bank’s right to repossess a family home, if the mortgage hasn’t been paid in over a year.
Only 14% of those surveyed agree with the right of banks to repossess family homes in this circumstance.
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