IFA meets Minister on farm income crisis

Joe Healy, the president of the IFA, led an IFA delegation in a meeting with the Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, and highlighted priority areas and actions required from the Government to address the income crisis across the main farming sectors.

  The association outlined very clearly to Minister Creed the financial pressure farm families were under this year as a result of lower prices, higher costs and reduced direct payments.

  Mr. Healy added that immediate action was required on state aid for low cost credit to all sectors, full drawdown of the farm schemes, 70 per cent payments advance, retail regulation and trade deals.

  On dairying, Sean O’Leary, the IFA dairy chairman, said urgent action was needed by the Government to provide low-cost short-term loans to alleviate cashflow pressures and reduce the high cost of merchant credit.

  He added that the EU agriculture council had already given the go ahead for this state aid in this area.

  Minister Creed said his department was working on this and recognised the financial pressure on farms, which is being compounded by Superlevy bills and taxation bills later this autumn.

  The Minister also said he had met all of the main banks and encouraged individual farmers to engage with them around interest and payments deferrals.

  Angus Woods, the IFA national livestock chairman, told Minister Creed that factories had started putting unnecessary pressure on cattle prices, claiming that they are unable to handle supplies even though the kill is less than 30,000 head per week.

  He said that it was very clear that the beef sector needed more competition and live export markets to Turkey and other north African and Middle Eastern markets need to open up as soon as possible.

  Minister Creed responded positively to the IFA request to convene a meeting of the Beef Forum and said he would do so in mid-July.