Politicians face grilling on incomes
A full review of the controversial beef grid and the need for a vibrant live export sector will be key issues as politicians set foot on the doorsteps of farm families this week, the ICMSA has said.
Fairness in the beef sector was also a key demand for the IFA as it set out its stall ahead of the fast-approaching general election.
It called for a 'policeman' in the industry, saying an independent third party is needed to chair the beef forum amid concerns over competitiveness in the sector and the price differential between Ireland and the UK.
The IFA also outlined a series of proposals on taxation and increased spending in the sector, while both farm bodies called for emphasis on expanding rural broadband and tackling rural crime.
"We'll be asking candidates to explain how we can return prosperity and dynamism to what were once thriving towns that have been now stripped of services and a viable commercial base," said ICMSA president John Comer.
He said they would be looking for party candidates to deliver a more "proactive attitude" to restoring dairy markets.
"Ireland's rural economy simply can't go on losing the kind of spend represented by falling milk price," said Mr Comer.
He said they believed the hit to prices would reduce dairy farm income by €800m in total over 2015 and 2016 if prices continued to slump.