THE Government has been urged to fight for a deal that rewards active farmers over "armchair landholders" in crucial talks on EU farm policy.
Failure to get a good deal on the Common Agricultural Policy at an EU summit next month could destroy thousands of farms, the Irish Farmers Association has warned.
Ireland must fight for a deal that will be worth €11bn to the Irish economy over the next seven years, IFA president John Bryan said at its AGM in Dublin today.
The Government must fight to secure funding of €1.25bn for the single farm payment and €350m for rural development, he said.
Ireland must resist move to introduce flat-rate single farm payments that would pay solely by the amount of land held, Mr Bryan said.
"The SFP must reward work and effort and not armchair farmers who have land but produce nothing," he said.
The IFA said that criteria such as the number of people working on a farm or the number of animals must be used to determine payments.
"This means a farmer with a high payment who is no longer active would see a greater reduction in their payment than one who has continued high levels of production over the past decade," said Mr Bryan.