‘Unjust’ CAP leaves farmers ‘ashamed’ to ask their children to take over the farm

Farmers are “ashamed” to ask their children to take over the family farm as a result of an “unjust” Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) system, according to the managing director of the Irish Family-Farm Rights Group, Tommy Gunning.

Gunning was speaking as a number of public meetings to consider the future of the CAP are scheduled to take place this week.

Organised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, these meetings will form part of an eight-week consultation period – which will come to an end on March 23, 2018.

Referencing how CAP payments are divided among farmers, Gunning said: “How stupid are we who stand around and say nothing?

“If you put 100 school children into a room and divided it in two by drawing a line down the centre and put 20 children on one side and 80 on the other. Now, we give the 20 children 80 sweets and then we give the 80 children on the other side of the room 20 sweets; what will the children think?

“This is what the Irish Government is doing to Irish farmers in the CAP payments, while the main farming organisations say nothing.”

The managing director of the group believes that this is a contributing factor to small and medium-sized farmers getting pushed out of farming; because, they “can’t compete“.

This is also adding to the decline of rural Ireland, he added.

Yet we stand idly by and say nothing. Then we wonder why farmers are ashamed to ask their sons or daughters to take over their farms; but, they know we are dealing with a very unjust system.

Postal survey

Recently, the Irish Family-Farm Rights Group – which is also known as the Farm Rights Group (FRG) – called for a postal survey to be carried out as part of the current CAP post-2020 consultation process.

The group believes that is the “easiest and fairest way” for every farmer to guarantee that their voice is heard.

It fears that the series of meetings organised by the department will not go far enough, as many farmers are in the midst of the calving or lambing season and may not be able to make it to any of the meetings.

The FRG will be writing to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, asking him to facilitate the survey.