IFA President John Bryan has said that the greening measures proposed in the leaked CAP document threatens the commercial viability of cereal, oilseed and protein crop production in this country.
Mr Bryan said, “The current proposals will create many constraints for growers, increase compliance and production costs, reduce land availability and competitiveness and potentially decimate grain production in Ireland. At the same time they will increase our dependence on expensive grain imports. Any reduction in the arable crop area will have a serious knock-on effect on for Ireland’s livestock, dairying and mushroom sectors.”
“Many aspects of the proposals are in direct conflict with the main aim of decoupled support introduced under the CAP reform of 2003; namely to achieve market balance by allowing farmers the freedom to respond to market signals. The initial proposal to establish a future reference year has already caused upheaval in the land rental market, creating unnecessary uncertainty for growers and land owners alike. A fluid land rental market is critical in the case of arable crop production where close on 40% of the land is rented.”
IFA National Grain Chairman Noel Delany said, “The proposed restriction on the conversion of permanent pasture to arable land to 5% at individual farm level will severely curtail the availability of land for crop production. This proposal will see the repeat of a serious situation that developed after 1992 when farmers could only crop eligible land, thus forcing many tillage farmers out of business.”
“The reintroduction of compulsory set-aside/ecological focus will aggravate the already tight supply of cereals, deliver little in the way of environmental benefits and place an additional cost burden on growers and livestock producers. Its relevance is questionable in the context of decoupled production. Historical evidence shows that it will significantly increase overhead costs for growers with 40ha or less.”
“Crop diversification will force farmers to grow alternative crops to satisfy bureaucratic regulations regardless of land and or crop suitability and market prospects. Crop diversification, given Ireland’s wet climate, limited crop choice, fragmented and often small farm size is not a feasible option for the majority of growers. It would create a logistical nightmare for farmers, contractors and the industry and shows how much policy is divorced from reality.”
“Any diminution of the current single farm payment would increase the financial exposure for growers and the industry to an unacceptable level given the extreme price volatility of grains and oilseeds in recent years. Irish grain farmers compete against world grain prices. These regressive and unworkable proposals will force even the best of growers out of crop production with serious consequences for Ireland’s livestock sectors, brewing and distilling industries. The Minister must reject these proposals outright.”