The government has been called on to change their “megaphone approach” when discussing the future of agriculture.

Commenting, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Tim Cullinan said:

“In recent days, we have seen the Taoiseach, the Minister for Agriculture and the director of Teagasc use various platforms to float ideas about what the future holds for farmers.

“The various suggestions such as herd limits, reducing suckler cows and other initiatives could have far-reaching implications for farm families.

“Yet we are being fed a diet of leaks, public statements, feature interviews and sermons,” he said.

The IFA president stressed that the government needs to sit down with farmers and try to reach an agreement on the way forward, adding:

“Megaphone communications, meaningless consultation processes and PR tours of the country will not make progress.

“Only farmers can deliver change – and yet they are being treated like pawns in the debate.”

Cullinan pointed out the key issues, such as: the new CAP Strategic Plan; sectoral targets under the Climate Act; the Nitrates Action Programme; and the allocation of the €1.5 billion in carbon tax funds committed in the Programme for Government.

“Farmers want to engage constructively – but the goal posts keep moving.

“We had AgClimatise and the Agri-Food Strategy 2030. Now we are told that these will be superseded by sectoral targets. Farming is a business and farmers need certainty.

“The government must sit down with us to negotiate a plan,” he concluded.