AgriLand caught up with the two Irish Farmers Association (IFA) presidential candidates earlier today….

On the campaign trail with Bergin 

IFA presidential candidate Jer Bergin has been in Clare today, canvassing farmers throughout the region in the run up to the election, which is now less than four weeks away.

“Farmers in this area are incensed at the number of farm inspections and late payments that are having to endure at the present time,” he told AgriLand. “It is absolutely critical that a new Farmers’ Charter is put in place, one that recognises the pressures and challenges on modern farming.

“It is also apparent that farmers in the Clare area extremely concerned regarding of REPS and the other environmental schemes. The Department of Agriculture must act on this issue.  While chatting to farmers in Ennis Mart I became every aware of producer concerns regarding the future prospects for live cattle prices. Obviously, the ongoing impact of the TLT receivership is colouring their thoughts in this regard.

“However, I am confident that the campaign we are running is striking a cord with farmers the length and breadth of Ireland.”

On the campaign trail with Downey 

Meanwhile, the other runner in the race to become IFA president, Eddie Downey has been campaigning in Roscommon.

“We also have teams on the ground throughout Co Cork,” he told AgriLand. “The recent collapse of the TLT company has had a major impact throughout the West of Ireland. It is now evident that farmers in the area want to see a new company established, one that will be in a position to export live cattle to Italy and other destinations throughout Europe.

“Resurrecting the TLT business is not an option at this stage. No ‘white night’ is going to buy into that business.  I heartily endorse the sentiments expressed to be by farmers in Roscommon on this crucially important issue.”

Turning to the issue of the Farmers Charter, Downey stressed that a root-and-branch review of the current arrangements must be agreed with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.

“Farmers are fed up with the excessive bureaucracy that are having to deal with every day of the week. They have every right to ask for this weight to be lifted off their shoulders. I have given a strong commitment to securing this objective on their behalf. In fact, it was only through my endeavours as IFA deputy president that Minister Coveney agreed to  hosting a review of the existing Farmers Charter in the first place.”