Calls for a postal survey to be carried out as part of CAP consultation

Calls have been made for a postal survey to be carried out as part of the current CAP post-2020 consultation process.

It is feared that the consultation meetings organised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – while welcome – may not go far enough, according to the managing director of the Irish Family-Farm Rights Group, Tommy Gunning.

Every farmer should be heard; but, not every farmer will be able to attend these meetings. Dairy, sheep and suckler farmers are especially busy now with calving and lambing season being well underway.

“The only way that every farmer will be guaranteed to have his or her voice heard is through a postal survey,” he said.

Gunning and his colleague Donie Shine – who is the national chairman of the group, which is also known as the Farm Rights Group – believe that this is the fairest way for all farmers to have their say, having visited more than half the marts in the country.

The easiest way to carry out the survey, according to the group’s managing director, would be to attach the survey to the Area Aid application form that every farmer in the country will get in the post from the department in the next couple of months.

How it would work

Continuing, Gunning said: “The survey sheet would outline all of the options as to how the CAP funds could be divided up between farmers in their single farm payments and the farmer could tick a box or rank in order of his or her preference the options that best suit him or her.

The completed survey sheet could be returned by post to, and counted by, a reputable third party to ensure confidentiality and impartiality.

He outlined that the FRG will be writing to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to facilitate a national survey of all farmers on the issue.

Concluding, Gunning said: “Who gets what from 2020 to 2027 will be decided in the coming weeks and months, and it is too important an issue to be left to – what some might see as – some largely unrepresentative farming organisations to make the farmers’ case.

“Only a direct survey of all farmers can guarantee that every farmer’s voice will be counted,” he said.

Meanwhile, the FRG in recent weeks has been holding a number of meetings to discuss the state of the suckler sector. The next meeting is scheduled to take place in the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, on Sunday, February 11, at 7:00pm.