Six key demands have been sought by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) from the Irish government in the looming discussions on the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

IFA president Tim Cullinan has called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue and the government to “act decisively to protect farmers and rural Ireland” in advance of the upcoming negotiations.

The IFA president was speaking in Co. Meath yesterday evening (Wednesday, May 12) as the organisation intensified its CAP campaign with the publication of its “Six Key Objectives” policy document, adding:

“Decisions in the coming weeks and months will decide the direction of our sector between now and 2027.

“We need our Minister for Agriculture to show real mettle during the key negotiations ahead,” he added.

The week beginning Monday, May 24, is crucial with CAP ‘super trilogue’ discussions between the EU institutions taking place, the IFA said. In addition, the Council of Agriculture Ministers will also take place that week.

Attending yesterday’s launch was the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue. Tim Cullinan outlined to the minister the IFA’s six key campaign demands:

  1. Minimise the impact of the Eco-scheme on farmers’ Basic Payment
  2. Hold the line on 75% internal convergence
  3. Maximise national co-financing of Pillar II farm schemes
  4. €1.5 billion of carbon tax revenue for agri-environmental measures
  5. Practical implementation of Good Agricultural Environmental Conditions (GAECs)/cross-compliance
  6. Phasing out of long-term leasing of entitlements, with appropriate definition of genuine farmer.

Cullinan said: “The minister must ensure that Pillar II schemes such as ANC [Areas of Natural Constraint], GLAS [Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme], TAMS [Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme], BDGP [Beef Data and Genomics Scheme], the Sheep Welfare Scheme and Organics are properly funded.

“In addition, we need a new scheme for tillage farmers to stop the exodus from this sector.

“The EU is going down a dangerous path by moving away from the principle that the CAP ensures food security. Greater ambition on climate action will not be achieved if the viability of primary producers is taken for granted.

“The value of farm payments has been continuously eroded by inflation and the various reforms over the years. Many farmers are now at a tipping point,” Cullinan concluded.