Current government policies are a threat to the future of commercial family farming in Ireland.
That is the view of ICMSA leader Pat McCormack, who spoke following a meeting with An Taoiseach, An Tanaiste, the Minister for Climate, Environment and Communications and the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine.
He believes “it is about time that rural government TDs stood up for the farming community and stopped the tail wagging the dog”.
McCormack highlighted that Irish farmers recognise their environmental obligations. He said they are and will respond as a sector but will not accept “the effective shutdown of our sector and politicians telling us to diversify when there are no credible alternatives”.
Squeezing commercial family farming out of this country
The farm group stated that it is “very concerned” at this stage, from climate change to nitrate regulations to veterinary medicine changes that the current government appears intent on “squeezing commercial family farming out of this country”.
It said the government appears to have forgotten the agricultural sector’s “crucial” role in the economic recovery and its “central role” in rural Ireland from a social and economic perspective.
“Irish agriculture, despite the negative comments from vested interests, has a proud record of achievement from an economic, environmental, social and rural perspective.”
“The government needs to recognise this, work constructively with the sector and ensure that our sector can grow and develop in a sustainable way.”
“The false negativity about our sector is unfairly influencing government policy in a direction that could critically undermine family farms.”
“It is essential that this government and the rural government TDs re-assesses the direction of policy and proactively supports the sector.”
The ICMSA president said Irish farmers will not accept the government unfairly undermining “our very future based on flawed policies”.
Concluding, he stated that farmers understand the climate challenge. However, he said the “unique” position of agriculture and food production needs to be recognised as acknowledged in the Paris Accord.
“Sustainable agriculture needs to be supported with the maximum level of co-funding under CAP-Post 2020,” the farm leader concluded.