MEPs back IFRG €300 suckler cow petition

The Irish Family-Farm Rights Group (IFRG) has launched a petition for a €300 suckler cow scheme, with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Liadh Ni Riada and Sean Kelly backing the plan.

At the group’s Suckler Farming Crisis Meeting in Ennis, Co. Clare last Thursday (February 21), both MEPs highlighted what they said is the importance of farming to Ireland’s rural economy, and that a €300 suckler cow payment will be taken more seriously if more farmers get behind it.

Both Ni Riada and Kelly also agreed that now was the time to start “making the case” for how that Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is structured after 2020.

The two Ireland South MEPs supported the IFRG’s calls for a fairer CAP, and particular support for small and medium sized farms.

They both outlined how climate change and biodiversity policies will play a big role in CAP reform, agreeing on the “importance of a fully co-funded environmental scheme under CAP’s Rural Development Fund”.

Speakers from the floor highlighted the demand in the Chinese market for grass-fed beef, with Ni Riada and Kelly saying that it would be a “great opportunity” for Irish farmers, especially given the difficulties Brexit would present.

The EU stands four-square behind Ireland and Irish agriculture. Should a hard Brexit happen, Irish farmers will be assisted.

At the beginning of this year, the IFRG outlined their recommendations for a fairer distribution of basic payments, which included: a cap of €40,000 on the payments (equal to the average industrial age); a €300 payment for each of the first 20 cows in a herd; and a €50 payment for each of the first 120 ewes in a flock.

At the time, the group’s national chairman called on all agricultural representative organisations to make their positions clear on CAP reforms.