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Clare farmers raise their voices

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Meetings with Oireachtas members highlight Clare farming issues ahead of Budget 2022, reports Dan Danaher

CLARE farmers are being urged to lobby local Oireachtas members to tackle agricultural issues in the run up to the Budget.
As part of a series of meetings with Oireachtas members, Clare IFA chairman, Tom Lane met Deputy Joe Carey, Deputy Violet Anne-Wynne, Deputy Cathal Crowe, Senator Timmy Dooley and Senator Martin Conway to discuss a number of key farming issues.
While Oireachtas members were not in a position to give any firm commitments ahead of the Budget, they have pledged to raise IFA concerns with the relevant government ministers.
Speaking to The Clare Champion, Mr Lane urged farmers to familiarise themselves with the IFA’s Pre-Budget Submission and CAP proposals, with a view to voicing concerns or making proposals for improvement in agricultural policies to their local Oireachtas member.
He stressed farming is entering a critical period with a number of key issues to be finalised in the coming months, which decide the future of faming for a number of years into the future.
He said after the last 18 months, farmers are across all sectors are facing increasingly challenging times and need to deliver a strong message from branches in Clare on the priorities for Agriculture Minister McConalogue to review.
These issues include Climate Action Bill, the revised Nitrates Action Programme and the €1.5B allocation to farming from Carbon Tax revenues, proposed West Clare Greenway and agri-business.
In view of these important farming issues, he said it vital that members support and participate at their branch annual general meeting in Clare.
While some suckler farmers are receiving some financial assistance from the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP) and the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, Mr Lane, said the IFA would like to see suckler farmers getting a payment of up to €300 per cow to make this farming enterprise more sustainable.
He said the agricultural relief on Capital Gains Tax should remain at 90%, while the threshold should be increased from €335,000 to €500,000.
Under a proposed Nitrates Directive, farmers who produce more than 100 units of nitrogen per cow must engage in low emission slurry spreading techniques, such as a trailing shoe, dribble bar or umbilical system to place the slurry in bands on the ground, rather than across the entire surface compared with the conventional splashplate method.
Mr Lane pointed out this can result in a farmer purchasing a new low emission slurry spreader with attached dribble bar at a cost of up to €35,000. In some cases, farmers may need to purchase a bigger tractor with more horsepower to use the low emission slurry spreader, which adds even more additional costs.
Clare IFA held a ‘Day of Action’ in Ennis to highlight farming’s contribution to the rural economy. Mr Lane stressed their message to the government has not changed.
“The sustainable growth of the agricultural sector needs policies that encourage investment at farm level, and recognise the role of agriculture in achieving balanced regional development and viable farm incomes,” he said.
Next Sunday, October 3, Mr Lane and farm families will be attending Green Ribbon ‘Walk and Talk in Ballycugguran Wood, Killaloe at 12noon as part of a mental health initiative.
After climbing Moylussa, he will participate in joint AGMs from IFA branches in Parteen, Truagh, Killaloe, Ogonnelloe and Bridgeton,
This will provide farmers with a great opportunity to discuss and give feedback on their main issues of concern.
Tim Cullinan IFA President will be attending joint AGMs for branches such as Carron, Ballyvaughan, Liscannor and Ennistymon in Michael Cusacks GAA Grounds next Monday, October 4, with Dr Brendan Dunford of BurrenBeo Trust at 8pm.
Mr Cullinan will update IFA members on the importance of beef and suckler farming in the 2023 – 2027 CAP National Strategic Plan, Climate Action Bill, the revised Nitrates Action Programme and the €1.5B allocation to farming and from Carbon Tax revenues.
Michael Davoren of Clare IFA was delighted that Junior Minister for Agriculture, Pippa Hackett, launched The Hare’s Corner’ project, which aims to help Clare landowners create pocket-sized habitats such as a mini-woodland, a pond, an orchard or a combination of all three on their land, for the benefit of both wildlife and farming.

by Dan Danaher

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