Forgotten farmers ‘left high and dry’ by farm organisations and Government

The 3,900 ‘forgotten farmers’ have been left high and dry by farming organisations and the Irish Government, Trevor Kelly, one of the forgotten farmers, has said.

Forgotten farmers are those who are less than 40 years of age who have been farming for five years or more and do not qualify for key young farmer supports under the latest CAP reform.

Kelly, a suckler farmer from Co. Roscommon, was speaking at a meeting in Brussels recently organised by Irish MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.

I’m a young farmer and there’s 3,900 of us with no Single Farm Payment. We were left high and dry – what sort of system is that?

“We’re in a position where we have politicians and farm organisations that are not representing us. They knew well from the start – we told them there was almost 4,000 farmers in this position.

“I’ve about €70,000 lost not having the payment for the last 12 years. It’s beyond belief. It’s unacceptable from any farm organisation or the Government that was there to have us in this situation.”

Responding to Kelly, Irish MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan said that he has met with the European Commission on the forgotten farmer issue.

“As with many issues, and it seems nearly all issues at this stage, we’re told by the Commission to go back to Ireland and tell that to the government, because [the Commission is] not stopping them from paying you.”

We’re told that the problem exits back in Ireland. We have been told by the Commission here that it’s up to Ireland whether they pay those farmers or not. The pressure has to be put on the Irish Government.

“I wouldn’t have much faith in them doing anything on it, because they would have done something by now. It’s a bit like going to the vegetable shop complaining that they’re not selling meat – they don’t sell it.

“Unless someone tells us in Ireland that actually they’re being told something out here, the answer is to deal with our Minister for Agriculture and the Department and get them to do something about it.”