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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farmers call for €250/suckler cow and €2,000 fertiliser voucher

The ICSA call for more funding for beef and sheep farmers

The DAFM must direct further supports towards the “vulnerable” suckler, beef and sheep sectors.

That was the key message the ICSA delivered during a meeting with Minister McConalogue and senior DAFM officials today (Thursday, May 5th, 2022).

According to the association’s president, Dermot Kelleher, these lower-income sectors are “being crucified”.

He believes that the CAP Strategic Plan is not delivering for active cattle and sheep farmers.

This is at a time when spiralling input costs are continuing to inflict “further devastating blows”.

He said: “It is a perfect storm. The minister must act now to deliver more supports from exchequer funds and target them directly at the vulnerable beef, suckler, and sheep sectors,” he said following the meeting.”

He said the DAFM were “wrong in failing” to allocate a greater proportion of CAP funds to the low-income beef, suckler and sheep sectors.

“There was no justification then –and there is no justification now – for ignoring the fact that these sectors are earning 10-15 times less than their counterparts involved in dairying.”

He said targeted supports are now necessary to:

  • Alleviate the shortcomings of the CAP plan for cattle and sheep sectors;
  • Mitigate the crippling burden of inflation on these sectors.

The farm leader reiterated the group/s call for a €2,000 fertiliser voucher.

He insisted that while the €1,000 silage package for cattle and sheep farmers is welcome, it “simply does not go far enough”.

The farm group again recommended that a voucher is made available to farmers who can show their farming enterprises required the purchase of fertiliser in 2021.

Vouchers, they suggest, should be payable at a rate of 50% of the total fertiliser bill for 2021 – to a maximum of €2,000.

Designations and diesel

ICSA rural development chair, Tim Farrell, stressed that the government would have to deliver separate funding for farmers impacted by designations.

He told attendees that CAP cannot be expected to do everything.

“The EU must be told that the level of ambition in the EU Biodiversity Strategy must be matched by equally ambitious extra funding outside of the CAP,” he explained.

ICSA also called on the government to investigate why diesel prices have remained “so high”. This is despite the barrel of oil dropping 20% in recent weeks.

Suckler cows

Meanwhile, ICSA suckler chair, Jimmy Cosgrave, outlined a proposal for an exchequer funded suckler animal welfare scheme.

He outlined that it could deliver €80-100/cow. When added to CAP suckler payments, he revealed it could deliver a €250/hd total suckler payment.

He said a key element would be to myostatin test all cows and heifers in the herd with a view to matching cows to bulls to minimise calving difficulties.

He said the scheme would also tackle lameness issues.


Kelleher was accompanied at the in-person meeting at Agriculture House, Dublin, by senior ICSA officials,

  • Beef chair, Edmund Graham;
  • Suckler chair, Jimmy Cosgrave;
  • Sheep chair, Sean McNamara;
  • Rural development chair, Tim Farrell;
  • General secretary, Eddie Punch.
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