IFA presidential candidate outlines ‘environmental proposals’

One of the candidates in this month’s presidential election for the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has outlined a set of environmental proposals to “protect suckler farmers in disadvantaged areas”.

Tim Cullinan, the IFA’s current national treasurer, argued that his proposals would also deliver a reduction on carbon emissions.

“Farming is the lifeblood of rural towns and villages and I fundamentally reject the view by some politicians and commentators that the only future for disadvantaged areas is blanket forestry,” the Co. Tipperary pig farmer argued.

No doubt forestry has a role to play, but not at the expense of our suckler herd.

Cullinan continued: “Putting a value on grass as a sequester of carbon, while maintaining and protecting suckler farming in disadvantaged areas, should go hand in hand in a national programme promoted by the Government.”

He highlighted that this would require a “massive” research programme by Teagasc to assess and determine the amount of carbon being sequestered by grass-based production systems.

As well as that, Cullinan called for the reintroduction of a “proper” Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) to replace the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS).

Cullinan claimed that the TAMS is “tied up in bureaucracy and the budget is going back to Brussels and the exchequer because farmers cannot access payments”.

The IFA presidential candidate is calling for premium payments of: €300/head on the first 30 cows; and €250/head after the first 30.

Under Cullinan’s proposals, these payments would be available to all suckler cow farmers “following good farming practices”.

As a final suggestion, Cullinan said: “Carbon fines that would have been paid by the state should be redirected to a special environmental scheme to suckler farmers, that would in turn help Ireland to manage and reduce its carbon emissions.”