The IFA has refused to comment on rumours that the organisation’s income over the past 12 months has fallen by well over €1m.

It is believed that the reported losses have been attributed to a decrease in membership and a drop in revenue from levy payments.

An IFA source confirmed to Agriland that membership levels have dropped off significantly of late, with many farmers choosing not to renew their membership once it expires.

Last year, Ireland’s largest beef processor, ABP, decided to stop the blanket collecting of levies from farmers.

Following meetings with farming organisations last August, the Larry Goodman-owned company took the decision to give farmers the option to ‘opt in’ to the collection of farm organisation levies.

Prior to this decision, farmers were required to ‘opt out’ from levy collections by meat factories, marts and dairy processors.

At the time, it was estimated that the levy collection across all income sectors was worth €4.7m to the IFA every year. These levies were described as ‘voluntary’ by the IFA.

In a poll carried out by Agriland following the decision by ABP to put a halt to the blanket collection of levies, 75% of farmers said that they would not ‘opt in’ for a farm organisation levy.

In March of last year the IFA forecast that it would lose 12% of its income from levies in 2016, valued at approximately €564,000.

Figures presented by the IFA at its National Council in March 2016 indicated that 300 people had requested levy refunds, which was included as part of the €564,000 reduction.

In 2015, farmers’ confidence in the IFA was rocked after the pay-packets of its former General Secretary and President were revealed.

It was revealed that its then General Secretary, Pat Smith, was paid a total of €542,634 in 2013; the President of the IFA at the time, Eddie Downey, was also paid a salary of €156,000 by the IFA.

His total remuneration package was €188,970, when topped up with fees from Bord Bia and FBD.

Furthermore, it was revealed that the presidents of the association had been receiving a fifth year’s pay on finishing their term.