ACA ‘craving’ CAP details as it calls for better Teagasc co-operation

Members of the Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) are carving more information on the Ireland’s new Common Agricultural Policy and Rural Development Plan.

Established in 1979, the private advisory association serves more than 46,000 farmers nationally and it is holding its agm in Cork this morning.

“Our clients are eating our phone lines looking for answers on the new CAP and Rural Development Plan,” according to ACA outgoing president Mike Brady.

“We can only answer seven out of 10 queries. The department needs finalise the programme and get it over the line quickly.”

Speaking to AgriLand, Brady said “to be fair we have had excellent meetings with the department but its needs to be more forthcoming on information”.

“We are looking for clarity. We deal with all sides of the equation, from active farmers, farm landlords. We need clarity on leased entitlements as a matter of urgency.”

According to the ACA president, the lack of information is very frustrating for its members. “We are like the horses at the start of a race, at the line-up, waiting for the gun and the traps to open.”

The organisation is also calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to help it forge a better working relationship with Teagasc.

“Our members would like equal access to the same technology and training that Teagasc has,” said Brady. “It gets €160m a year from the State, yet its advisory staff is dwindling and there is a staff moratorium in place. Our members are hungry for work and the facilities are there for them, so we are calling on the minister to give Teagasc a push in the right direction to work with us. We feel it would be of great interest to the sector.”

Brady is also calling for a ACA member to be on the board of Teagasc. “There should be a greater mix of public and private partnership to drive Irish agriculture and farming together and the minister should drive this co-ordination.”

ACA outgoing president Mike Brady