The IFA has announced that its officers, from every county, will lobby members of the Oireachtas in Dublin today (Wednesday) to get approval for the Rural Development Programme (RDP). The IFA said patience is running out among its members who are calling to have vital farm schemes opened without further delay.
IFA President Eddie Downey has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to secure agreement from the EU Commission in Brussels for Ireland’s RDP, as already a number of countries have concluded their negotiations on their plans. “The plan has now been with the EU Commission for well over six months and Ireland’s plan has not yet been approved. The urgent implementation of the farm schemes was never more pressing given the difficult income position of many farmers,” the IFA President said. IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy pointed out that with many farmers now having received their last REPS payment, it has got to be a priority of the Minister to get the GLAS scheme open and to allow all farmers who are applying for the scheme to become eligible.
Among the issues to be addressed the IFA is calling for all applicant farmers to be allowed into the GLAS in 2015, with a significant payment this year. Furthermore, it wants all farmers to be afforded the opportunity to join GLAS, especially low-income farmers in vulnerable sectors and regions.
Under TAMS 2, the IFA is calling for the young farmer top-up grant of an additional 20% to include all young farmers and that the farm safety scheme is part of the new TAMS II.
The IFA also wants the review of the ANCs to involve the protection of existing areas and the restoration of payments to their pre-2008 levels over the next number of years.
In relation to knowledge transfer, the IFA describes the current proposal as unacceptable and anti-competitive, as farmers receive a payment of €750 and planners get €500;
Furthermore, the IFA want to ensure that farmers who have two enterprises can be a member of two groups with the appropriate payments.
Regarding Beef Data Genomics, the IFA says the payment must be paid on all suckler cows applied for and that the scheme must be introduced, in full, with minimal costs, and without any added bureaucracy for the farmer.