The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) National Hill Committee has elected Flor McCarthy as chairman.
Mr McCarthy is a hill sheep farmer from Kenmare. He also has a suckler herd and farms with his wife Mary and four children.
He said that he will represent the 30,000 hill farmers highlighting their concerns and tackling low farm incomes, which are prevalent on farms with mountain type land.
Mr McCarthy set out a number of key priorities:
- That the additional €25m for areas of natural constraint (ANCs) secured in Budget 2018 is directed to farmers who farm the most difficult land;
- In the upcoming Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) negotiations that the IFA National Hill Committee will play a crucial role in the formulation of national policy to deliver significant support to hill farmers;
- That in the ANC review, due to be put in place in 2019, hill type land secures the highest payment;
- That the 2016 Heritage Bill to allow burning of gorse in the month of March is passed by the Oireachtas;
- That the additional €2m promised for the Walks Scheme is delivered, with the addition of 40 recreational routes;
- That farmers with designated land be properly compensated for farming, and development restrictions imposed;
- That better environmental schemes are put in place to recognise the key role hill farmers play in providing a vital public good; and
- Working closely with the National Sheep Committee to deliver a better return for light lamb.
Mr McCarthy replaces Pat Dunne from Wicklow, who represented hill farmers at the IFA for the past four years.
Mr McCarthy said Mr Dunne worked tirelessly for hill farmers in all parts of the country and attended many meetings in all regions over his period as chairman, and brought hill farmers to the highest levels at both national and EU level.