Direct payments vital for farm families

IFA President John Bryan said the final CSO farm income for 2010 confirms the recovery in agriculture; however average farm incomes are still only €18,000.

IFA President John Bryan said the final CSO farm income for 2010 confirms the recovery in agriculture; however average farm incomes are still only €18,000.

Mr Bryan said, “The Single Farm Payment and the farm schemes continue to be crucial for all farm families and make up a very significant proportion of net farm income. Teagasc figures show that direct payments made up 94% of farm income last year.”

He said the income increase indicates a recovery in the sector after two very difficult years in agriculture, where incomes dropped by over 40%. “Escalating fuel, feed and fertiliser costs are dampening the recovery and adding to volatility, which has the potential to undermine production as our model of family farming cannot absorb the impact of a ‘boom-bust’ cycle.”

The IFA President added, “In the context of the EU budget proposals, and decisions on the public finances, the figures demonstrate the importance of direct payments and Government support for schemes in underpinning agriculture’s contribution to the economy.

“It is vital that all existing supports are maintained to achieve the growth and export targets for agriculture and the food industry set out in Food Harvest 2020.”