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CSO income figures must be wake-up call, says IFA

CSO income figures must be wake-up call, says IFA

IFA President Joe Healy today has said that the Central Statistics Office (CSO) estimate for farm income in 2017 points to mixed fortunes with a significant improvement for dairy farmers and very real income pressures in other sectors.

Mr Healy said gains in other sectors were negligible, particularly in drystock and tillage, where he described incomes as unsustainably low.

The IFA President said the importance of direct payments for the drystock and tillage sectors cannot be overstated. “Their very survival depends on direct payments. It underlines how crucial an improved EU budget is, in the context of the upcoming CAP reform. The figures further support the IFA case for a substantial additional payment for suckler cows.

“While it has been a relatively good year for dairying, it came after one of the worst years on record in 2016. Price volatility remains a huge threat in the context of the significant investment undertaken by dairy farmers.”

Concluding, Mr Healy said: “Irish farmers face increased demands on sustainability, on the environment and on climate change. With the dangers presented by Brexit and a potential Mercosur trade deal, they will continue to depend on a strongly-funded Common Agricultural Policy in the years ahead. Our Government and EU Commissioner Phil Hogan have a key role to play in securing the economic sustainability of all farming sectors in Ireland.”