Tipperary farm leader says Cowen 'must back farmers'

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Tipperary farm leader says Cowen 'must back farmers'

IFA president Tim Cullinan: new Minister for Agriculture 'must back farmers'

IFA president and Toomevara farmer Tim Cullinan has congratulated the new Minister for Agriculture, Barry Cowen, on his appointment.

“We look forward to working with the new Minister to ensure that we harness the full potential of our farming sector,” he said.

In comments made after Micheál Martin was elected Taoiseach, Mr Cullinan said that he highlighted the CAP Budget, Brexit and the new Climate Bill as urgent and critical issues for the new Government, but warned the Minister for Agriculture had many more issues to address, including the pressing need to get the €50m in funding for beef farmers out quickly.

“The new Minister has to be clear that farming is a commercial activity and that the economic sustainability of farmers is at the centre of the sustainability debate,” he said.

“This Minister has a huge task as farmers are frustrated with what they perceive to be fundamental unfairness in the food chain. They are being asked to do more and more for less return as processors and retailers maximise their profits at the expense of farmers,” he said.

“In this regard, the creation of the new Food Ombudsman will be vital. This new body must have the scope to regulate the full food chain and have real powers to ensure a fair share of the retail price gets back to farmers,” he said.

Mr Cullinan congratulated Sen Pippa Hackett on her appointment as super junior minister with responsibility for Land Use Management and Biodiversity.

“We will work constructively to achieve the dual outcomes of food production and climate action with Ms Hackett,” he said.

Mr Cullinan thanked Michael Creed for his contribution as Minister for Agriculture and wished him and his family well for the future.