IFA loses 3,682 members in 2016, as income falls by €1.2m

The IFA has lost a total of 3,682 members in 2016, while the association’s income also fell by over €1.2m, its annual report has shown.

The report, for the year ending March 31, 2016, shows that the IFA’s total number of voting members stood at 73,700.

The total membership, which includes all membership channels (main member, family, associate and countryside), equalled 76,084 – an additional 2,384 members on the total number of voting members.

In reports from 2013 and 2014 the association claimed to have closer to 90,000 members.

Membership income represented approximately 60% of operational income in 2016, supporting a range of member services in the process, according to the IFA.

These services include:
  • Local office support structure.
  • Member communications (membership card/pack, newsletters, web, social media).
  • Personal accident and legal liability insurance.
  • Voluntary officer structure and participation.
  • The member benefits programme.
  • Member supports (direct payments, legal, credit, Pieta House) and all major activity on campaigns.

Income for the association also dropped by just over €1.2m in 2016, leaving it at €18,977,049; this compared to an income of €20,187,698 in the previous year.

The report also shows that the income from the European Involvement Fund (EIF) also decreased by 12% in 2016, which represented a drop of close to €500,000.

The income generated from the EIF represents approximately 40% of the association’s operational income, the IFA said.

It also significantly contributes towards ensuring all farmer interests are professionally and comprehensively represented at European and International level, it added.

IFA costs

In 2016, the total staff costs incurred by the IFA amounted to €5,297,064; this compared to €5,730,086 in 2015.

The IFA also revealed that it spent €416,075 on membership recruitment last year and €439,619 on membership promotion.

The amount spent on recruitment dropped by just over €6,000 compared to 2015 levels, but expenditure on promotion increased by close to €148,500, figures show.

The cost of maintaining an office in Brussells in 2016 increased by €15,592, to a total of €597,284.

For the year ending March 31, 2016, the average remuneration for the top 15 staff in the IFA (after the executive management) was €103,912 with a pension contribution of €23,773 – a total of €127,685.

In 2015 that stood at an average salary of €103,299 and a pension contribution of €23,000 – which added up to €126,299.

Priorities for 2017

In 2017, the IFA hopes to stabilise the membership base and rebuild its membership categories.

Other priorities include:
  • Rebuilding the income of the association.
  • Growing the Member Services division and maintaining IFA’s commercial partnerships.
  • Developing the platforms which allow direct communications with members.
  • Pressing Government and the telecoms industry to deliver a high-speed fibre broadband service for rural communities.
  • Continuing to upskill and support the leadership of the association and the branch network with leadership, communications, negotiation, IT and finance training.