The deadline for submissions under the consultation process for Ireland’s 2023-2027 Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan (CSP) is this Friday (September 3).

The original end date to the consultation process was last Friday (August 27). However, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue announced earlier in August that he would be extending the period by one week to this Friday.

When announcing the extension, the minister said he was “committed to ensuring that all farmers have an opportunity to have their voices heard as part of the consultation process”.

“I have said from the start that I want farmers to be at the very centre of the entire CAP process. This is one of the most important CAP programmes in the history of the policy, so it is crucial that farmers have their voices heard.”

The move to extend the consultation period was generally welcomed, with the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) saying the previous deadline was “too tight”.

Tim Cullinan, the association’s president, had said: “We need time to debate the issues around this CAP reform, which will have significant ramifications for the incomes of farmers.

“The department has made the correct decision to extend the deadline to give more time for proper consideration. We want to have extensive dialogue with our membership before we make our submission,” Cullinan added.

One of the most contentious aspects of the CSP to arise during the consultation period is a plan to limit suckler cow numbers for participants in a new scheme.

The proposed ‘Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme’ includes a provision that participants will not be able to increase their numbers of suckler cows, except in certain circumstances.

Brendan Golden, the IFA’s Livestock Committee chairperson, claimed this was “an underhanded attempt to limit the national suckler herd“.

Golden stressed that “any attempt to limit or cap the national suckler herd has been rejected out of hand and will not be accepted”.