Joyce declares IFA election intentions

Irish Farmers’ Association Connacht regional chairman Padraic Joyce has announced his intentions to run for the position of IFA deputy president in the farm organisation’s presidential elections later this year.

Speaking to AgriLand, the chairman – a dairy and beef farmer from Co. Mayo – outlined his key priorities ahead of his planned campaign.

“My priorities are beef at the present time; the price of beef and a recognition for the good product that we’re producing and we’re selling – under the cost of production.”

Joyce added that most products are being sold by farmers “under the cost of production”, adding: “Both beef and dairy – we’re not getting a proper price for them.”

The chairman noted that, as well as the obvious importance of family farms to rural Ireland, such farms are also crucial for other aspects of rural life such as agri-tourism.

He added that, if family farms go, “there will be nobody to keep the land going”.

“I would ask farmers to vote for me on my track record: I’ve been county chair in Mayo; I’ve been Connacht regional chairman for just over three years.

“During that time my track record would be that I’ve led farmers on many protests; on the suckler cow, I’d be part of the group of farmers who organised a rally a few days before the budget of 2018 that got €23 million for suckler farmers.

Now, that’s not enough but we just have to continue that on with suckler farmers to keep them producing; otherwise, we’ll lose those suckler cows out of rural Ireland.

On other priorities, Joyce stated: “The Mercosur deal is totally off the wall; they’re cutting down rainforests in Brazil and bringing beef across the world, while we’re one of the most carbon efficient producers in the world.”

He added that incentives for young farmers will also be a key priority he intends focusing on, highlighting the current dearth in rural youth taking up farming.

He continued, stating: “Farmers would receive at least the average industrial wage – because that’s not happening at the moment.”

He said that price supports from Government have to be considered when below-cost selling  – while food chain transparency is vital:

We don’t know what the retailers are receiving or what margins they have – we have no idea at the present time.

He also highlighted cost of production, noting that farmer input costs are increasing while product sale prices are falling – “it’s unsustainable”.

Commenting on the next step of his campaign following declaration, Joyce explained that he will need to secure a nomination from his county as well as five other county nominations.

“I’m hoping to have them in place by the time the nominations have to be in.

“I’ll be asking for votes from all farmers; asking them to look at my track record that I have achieved a lot in the time I have been in the agri political arena through IFA, having led a lot of protests and achieved a lot for farmers,” he concluded.