The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to honour commitments made in the Programme for Government to the so-called ‘forgotten farmers’.

The association has called on the Minister ensure that young farmers with low CAP entitlements received a decent Basic Payment.

Under the Programme for Government, the Government committed to seek recognition from the European Commission for ‘forgotten farmers’ as a group with specific disadvantage under the National Reserve.

Last week, the Minister said that there are no current proposals to introduce an intermediary grant of 50% under TAMS II to farmers who fall into the category of being a ‘forgotten farmer’ – farmers who are less than 40 years of age who have been farming for five years or more.

INHFA National Chair, Vincent Roddy, said these so-called ‘forgotten farmers’ have proven their commitment to farming by entering the industry when there were no additional supports for them.

He said that these farmers continued to farm despite receiving very low payments and he urged Minister Creed to take action on the issue.

The INHFA understands that in the Programme for Government a mechanism was to be agreed to ensure that any farmer who never received a payment from the reserve of the Installation Aid Scheme would be brought up to the Basic Payment average of €254/ha.

Roddy outlined how the annual budget to deliver this would be in the region of €5m.

“Reducing all Basic Payments to under €100,000, which was another proposal included in the Programme for Government, would deliver the necessary funds.

“Such a move would provide enough money for both the forgotten farmers and a Young Farmer Reserve,” he claimed.