Farmer views: Are farm organisations making a difference?

There are many farm organisations in Ireland. These unions represent all types of farmers and represent their voice both at home and in the EU.

However, farm organisations – in particularly the IFA – have come in for some criticism in recent times.

There are calls for some reform and for farm organisations to do more for farmers on the ground.

Also Read: ‘IFA needs radical reform to remain relevant for future generations’ – Downey

Farmers have gone through a tough year and some farmers – especially those involved in the beef and suckler game – are really feeling the pressure.

Farmers behind a new beef splinter group say the faction formed in light of farm unions “failing to establish a tenable plan” for the beef sector.

The core members of the recently-formed body – called the ‘Beef Plan Group‘ – have been involved in a producer and purchaser group together for the last three years.

Also Read: Farmers confront meat industry with 86-point draft beef plan

However, AgriLand got out and about and asked the farmers what they think and would they like to see more being done at farm level. We also asked these farmers: Are these organisations in the position to make a difference?

The response varied. Some farmers were of the opinion that these lobby groups are of no benefit to farmers, while others supported these unions and praised their work.

‘Why would I be a member?’

One farmer clearly stated that these organisations do nothing for farmers, outlining “the state of the price of beef; we need someone that is going to do something for us”.

Another farmer agreed: “The IFA were stronger years ago when they blocked the roads to Dublin. Today, they are weak.”

After what can only be described as a terrible year for farmers in Ireland weather wise, farmers are understandably frustrated.

One farmer stated: “I don’t know if any organisation is helping farmers at the present time; it doesn’t benefit my enterprise a whole pile.”

‘Anyone that speaks up is a help’

On the other hand, some farmers outlined that these organisations are a benefit for farmers and that “anyone who speaks up is a help”.

One farmer explained: “I’m a member of the IFA and they are a benefit for farmers. I’m with them for the last 20 years and they are in a position to make a difference; they would be listened to and they have clout. It’s definitely no harm being with them anyway.”

Another beef farmer added: “I would recommend people to get involved. I hope they’re in a position to make a difference, but we will find out in the budget.”