‘No logic’ to hike in CAP suck­ler sup­ports — ICMSA

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - DECLAN O’BRIEN

ICMSA will re­sist any move to fund a suck­ler cow sup­port pay­ment from Ire­land’s ex­ist­ing CAP Pil­lar 1 or Pil­lar 2 al­lo­ca­tions, the dairy farmer body has in­sisted.

Both the IFA and INHFA have called for a sup­port pay­ment for suck­ler farm­ers to halt the slide in beef cow num­bers. IFA claim the pay­ment should be in the or­der of €200/cow.

How­ever, ICMSA pres­i­dent Pat Mc­Cor­mack warned that there was “no case in prac­tice or logic” for ad­di­tional suck­ler sup­port pay­ments to be funded out of the present di­rect pay­ments fund.

Mr Mc­Cor­mack said he had no ob­jec­tions to ad­di­tional sup­port for suck­lers, pro­vided “an ad­di­tional al­lo­ca­tion of money to cover that sup­port” is iden­ti­fied.

“There’s no sup­port amongst farm­ers for a lin­ear cut to di­rect pay­ments to fund a new suck­ler pay­ment – and cer­tainly none amongst ICMSA mem­bers,” Mr Mc­Cor­mack said.

He also cau­tioned against raid­ing the ANC, GLAS or TAMS bud­gets to source fund­ing for a suck­ler pay­ment.

“The idea that, for in­stance, even ex­ist­ing suck­ler farm­ers would be happy to take an­other lin­ear cut to fund this pay­ment is very du­bi­ous in­deed,” he main­tained.

“It is cer­tain that any new suck­ler sup­port would come with ‘terms and con­di­tions’ that could be very strin­gent and might make the whole ex­er­cise not worth­while.

“We al­ready have seen the lack of en­thu­si­asm around the Beef Ge­nomics Scheme for that ex­act rea­son, and if beef and suck­ler farm­ers are un­con­vinced by these schemes then what are other farm­ers meant to make of them?”

Mr Mc­Cor­mack said di­rect pay­ments had been “re­peat­edly sav­aged” by across-the-board cuts, but said ICMSA was call­ing a halt to such ac­tions.

The ICMSA pres­i­dent also asked how di­rect pay­ments for suck­lers would fit into the coun­try’s over­all “emis­sions pic­ture”.

Agriculture Min­is­ter Michael Creed has con­sis­tently said that fund­ing a suck­ler cow pay­ment from ex­ist­ing CAP funds was not fea­si­ble.

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