ARMCHAIR farmers who don't grow any food on their land must not be paid more than active farmers in reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has insisted.
The IFA called on the Government to fight for a deal that secures €11bn in farm funding for Ireland over the next seven years.
Ireland must resist moves to introduce flat-rate single farm payment (SFP) that would pay solely by the amount of land held, IFA president John Bryan said at their AGM in Dublin.
"The SFP must reward work and effort and not armchair farmers who have land but produce nothing," he said.
Failure to deliver a good deal at crunch talks in Brussels next month could hit thousands of farms and devastate food production even though official policy is to expand it, he added.
And Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney would be judged on his ability to get a good deal for Ireland, as he had not delivered in the recent Budget, with savage cuts to the Disadvantaged Areas scheme.
The IFA enjoyed a bumper year as an organisation in 2012 with income soaring by nearly €2m and membership up to a record 88,000, the AGM heard.
Membership rose by 500 and the figure does not include the associate members in IFA Countryside or family members who join at a lesser rate. Income for 2012 rose from €11.7m in 2011 to €13.5m in 2012.