Imelda Walsh: 'We are insisting on a budget increase and a more simplified CAP'
When it comes to shaping the next CAP, farmers need to hear that the European Parliament is serious about supporting agriculture and farming families that produce food to the highest standard with a low carbon footprint in an environmentally sustainable way at a very affordable cost to the EU consumer, according to Imelda Walsh, chair of North Tipperary IFA.
She told the branch’s agm in Nenagh that they were hearing buzzwords such as subsidarity, capping, convergence and genuine farmer, but “we are insisting on a budget increase and a more simplified CAP with less inspections and less reams of paperwork as we can no longer run faster to stand still”.
In a wide ranging speech, Ms Walsh said in relation to the livestock sector, that there was a need to take back control.
“The livestock sector unfortunately continues to struggle,” she said. “I don’t accept statements that due to the high kill it is affecting price. Not enough is been done to protect this sector.”
She said that, as farmers, they was a need to “take ownership of our livestock sector and have a greater role in the sale and marketing of our stock”.
Ms Walsh said that more can, and must, be done in relation to our live export trade and the Department of Agriculture needed to step up to the challenges posed.
On changes to ANC, she reassured farmers in North Tipperary that had lost out under the recent ANC review that IFA will be appealing that decision.
Sheep farmers operated on a low income, while the pig industry was continuing to struggle, she said.
With farming appearing to be the easy target when it comes to all our environment woes, Ms Walsh said that as a community they had improved effeciencies to a high level.
She said that there could be no talk about the environment without making reference to calendar farming and its merits.
“We need only look back at the autumn of last year to the two-week extension of chemical and organic fertlizer spreading dates and the massive benefit it was to farmers. Perhaps common sense and flexibility need to play a part in determining best practice for the environment,” said Ms Walsh.
The IFA chairman also took aim at vulture funds threatening the viability of farming families and sharp practice by retailers who seemed to think that had have a social licence which allowed them to use agriculture products as the loss leader.
Ms Walsh also raised concerns about Brexit, saying that more than two years after the vote, there appeared to be more questions than answers.
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