Farmers are being called on to have their say on what they want to see in the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) at four online meetings which will be taking place over the next seven days.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) is holding four regional meetings to discuss and update members on the key IFA proposals and objectives relating to the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Taking place online from tomorrow (Tuesday, May 18) to next Monday (May 22), each meeting will start at 8:00p.m.
Speaking to Agriland ahead of the meetings, IFA South Leinster regional chairman Francie Gorman outlined what will be discussed – and why farmers should tune in – explaining:
“The key purpose of the meetings is, number one, to inform our members what is going on. D-Day is approaching; there’s no doubt about that with trialogue negotiations taking place next week.
“We’ve been lobbying TDs and government ministers on six key asks, which are: to minimise the effects of the eco-schemes; to make sure that the minister holds the line on the 75% convergence; for maximum co-funding for pillar II; and to make sure the €1.5 billion in carbon tax is ring-fenced for environmental schemes in agriculture.
“The fifth and sixth asks are the practical applications of GAECs, which are essentially good agricultural environment practices and to define an active farmer, phasing out entitlements and have a definition of an ‘active farmer’.
“The overall impact that particularly convergence and eco-schemes are going to have on people’s supports and payments in the next CAP will be sizeable. The number of farmers whose viability is going to be threatened is huge – with very, very few people going to be made viable in the future.
“It is important that the minister and our government holds the line in these negotiations in Brussels from that point of view,” Gorman stressed.
Giving a brief breakdown of the format the meetings will be in, the chairman said:
“Tim Cullinan will open the meeting and there will be a presentation from our chief economist Tadhg Buckley on what has been going on around CAP. Then the main part of the meeting will be a questions and answers session for members to voice their concerns, give their opinions on what we’re doing and for us to take on board any feedback that they give us.
“With the Portuguese EU presidency due to finish up at the end of June there seems to be a collective will among members in Brussels to get agreement on this before they finish up.
“Because then you’re into the Estonian presidency and they feel that, with the backup that Portugal would be able to provide during its presidency, this would mean that they’d have a better chance of getting agreement on this now.
“Now is the time. We would encourage as many people as possible to join into the meetings and have their say over the next week,” Gorman concluded.