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