Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) General Secretary Eddie Punch has told Agriland that the organisation receives no funding courtesy of levies collected at the marts or by processors.

“In many ways, this is our strength,” he added. “Our 10,000 members pay an annual subscription fee. Last year, we established a relationship with the Zurich Insurance, which allows our paid up members to avail of a €75 rebate on their annual farm insurance premium.”

When asked by Agriland to highlight ICSA’s unique selling points as a farm lobby and stake holder group, he said: “We are totally focussed on the needs of Ireland’s cattle and sheep farmers. And the fact that we are not dependent in any way on the meat factories for our existence means that we can freely develop policies that put the needs of our members without taking the needs of other interest groups on board.”

He went on to say that ICSA has a clear strategy moving forward and that is to serve the needs of Ireland cattle and sheep farmers in the most effective way possible. “Our membership is spread equally across the country. Yes, we will lose a certain number of members each year. It’s a fact of life that up to 10% of farmers will retire each year. However, the good news from an ICSA perspective is that we have more than sufficient new members joining our ranks, which will more than make up for this process of natural progression at the other end of the age spectrum.”