Irish farmers “have not been consulted” on which Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposal they would prefer to have in place, the Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA) has claimed.

To gauge the “true opinion” of the Irish farming community, the association has started an online survey.

Following a review of CAP negotiation documentation, the recently rebranded organisation said:

“It is our considered opinion from an Irish perspective, that the farmers of Ireland have not been consulted with, on which CAP proposal they would like to have in place.

“Irish farmers should be asked for their opinion on convergence.”

Outlining its belief in “supporting the views of grassroot farmers”, the IBLA set out its intention to consult with its members and the wider farming public through an online survey.

On this, the organisation said: “The survey is to gather the opinions of the genuine farmers, who work the land and farm in our communities.

“We recognise that Irish agriculture has moved on from 30 years ago. We also recognise that the principles of CAP, whilst noble and fitting at the time, now need further realignment with our circular economy,” the association added.

“While modern society and modern farming requires realignment for sustainable agriculture, this is key for food security and a level playing field for all within the agri-food sector.”

Contending that “large companies and semi state bodies availing of CAP payments” and who are “not contributing to the circular economy are not in sync with the current CAP review”, the IBLA said:

“It is key that redistribution occurs to bolster family farming enterprises in our rural communities. Each and every livestock owner lives and breathes within our community. When our society is faced with national dilemmas, a referendum is held for the will of the people to be heard.”

On this, it was added:

“The IBLA is now wishing to hold a referendum-like survey, to reflect the true opinion of the farming community from the ground up, rather than conceding to executive policy at the top. We are leaving this survey open to all farmers and it is vital that your voice is heard.”

Urging farmers to complete the survey, the association said that its results will be formulated and submitted to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue before the next round of CAP negotiations.