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27/09/2021

Tipperary farm leader urges farmers to have their say on nitrates review

Tipperary farm leader urges farmers to have their say on nitrates review

North Tipperary IFA chair Imelda Walsh: Encouraging farmers to have their say on nitrates review

The chair of North Tipperary IFA is encouraging members to voice their concerns on the proposed nitrates measures and CAP proposals and the potential impact to their farm business at their upcoming branch agms.

Imelda Walsh reminded members that North Tipperary IFA held a Day of Action in Nenagh to highlight farming’s contribution to the rural economy.

“Our message to Government has not changed,” she said.

Ms Walsh said that the sustainable growth of the sector needed policies that encouraged investment at farm level, and recognised the role of agriculture in achieving balanced regional development and viable farm incomes.

Meanwhile, in response to a Teagasc Signpost webinar on the nitrates review, IFA president Tim Cullinan said the Government cannot use the review to introduce measures that were more to do with delivering climate policy objectives, than improving water quality.

“I am deeply troubled by the blatant attempt by the Department to use this nitrates review to deliver on other policy objectives. “The objective of the nitrates review is to introduce measures to protect and improve water quality. If there are wider benefits to climate and biodiversity, this is welcome. However, the Department is now using the nitrates review as a Trojan horse to implement other measures,” he said. 

The Toomevara farmer said the Government must undertake a cost-benefit analysis to understand the economic cost of the proposed measures and the associated improvement to water quality before the viability of more family farms was undermined, with little improvement to water quality.

“There needs to be full negotiation with farmers around all these measures. These kite-flying exercises dressed up as a consultation process are frustrating and angering farmers,” he said.

Mr Cullinan said that IFA had sought an urgent meeting with Minister McConalogue and will be making a submission to the Nitrate Action Programme review.

IFA environment chairman Paul O’Brien said the proposed measures to cover slurry stores or the use of LESS had little to do with improving water quality, but more to do with reducing agriculture emissions. 

“The review must focus on supporting farmers to improve water quality. It must not be used as a vehicle for the Government to renege on its responsibility to support farmers in the low carbon transition,” he said.

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