Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 30 April 2017

Farmers left bloodied after difficult year, says Creed

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed speaking at 'The Floating Voter' talk at the Farming Independent tent at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore Co Offaly. Pic Steve Humphreys
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed speaking at 'The Floating Voter' talk at the Farming Independent tent at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore Co Offaly. Pic Steve Humphreys
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has said farmers have been left "bloodied" as a result of difficult weather conditions, price volatility and Brexit.

Mr Creed said the beef, dairy and tillage sectors are under particular pressure and added that he will seek changes in the Budget to address price volatility in the market place.

The Cork TD is examining measures which would allow farmers to place a portion of their income in a special fund during a good year, which would not then be subject to income tax. The money could then be drawn down and taxed when yearly incomes drop.

Government sources have also indicated that a moratorium in employers' PRSI for specialist sectors is being examined ahead of next month's Budget.

Speaking on the 'Floating Voter' podcast at the Ploughing Championships yesterday, the Fine Gael politician said there is a "green jersey element" to the farming industry, particularly on the back of Brexit.

"We be bloodied but we are not unbowed after a difficult year," he said of the agricultural community.

Also speaking on Independent.ie's political podcast, Independent TD for Roscommon/Galway Michael Fitzmaurice said immediate measures must be introduced to protect small farms.

He also raised revelations in the Irish Independent this week that billionaire farmers have been receiving massive subsidies from the taxpayer.

"I heard the minister saying the industry is bloodied. Well it's our job as politicians to wipe the blood off their noses and sort things out," Mr Fitzmaurice said.

"It is all about protecting rural communities. The small farms - 20, 40, 60 acres."

Mr Fitzmaurice raised the issue of the grain industry, which he says is now in disarray.

He added: "The grain is rotting into the ground."

In relation to Brexit and the prospect of CAP support being reduced, Mr Fitzmaurice said he was more concerned about the impact accession countries could have on the fund.

"Our biggest threat, if we are being honest with people, is other accession countries that will come in and cut the CAP budget."

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil's agriculture spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue, said it was crucial that it "pays farmers to produce and keep producing".

He said dairy farmers are under particular pressure and suffering from cashflow problems.

The Donegal TD said Brexit represents a significant programme in terms of exports, particularly for those trading in dairy, beef and mushrooms.

"It is crucial now that we try to ensure that the (CAP) pot for 2020 is kept as it was outlined to be. The minister and the Government have to get more vocal to ensure at European level the interests of Ireland are considered."

Irish Independent



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