New CAP package must take account of incomes divide: ICSA
The structure of CAP payments needs to be overhauled to address the growing divide between dairy and other farming sector incomes, the ICSA has warned.
ICSA president Patrick Kent has said the static income figures for drystock farmers demonstrate where CAP supports need to be directed.
"The differential between the different farming systems is growing. Comparing like with like, the average per hectare income from dairying at €1,530 is 4.75 times higher than sheep farming at €322 and 4.2 times higher than cattle rearing at €364.
"Beef finishing systems are slightly better at €451 per hectare. So the post-2020 CAP is going to have to address this huge inequality and more supports - both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 - must be directed at low-income sectors," said Mr Kent.
"We would question whether the ANC payment should be spread so thinly. Apart from the challenge of farming marginal land, the payment should also be more closely aligned with supporting the farmers with the lowest profitability," he continued.
"Annual incomes averaging as low as €16,897 for sheep farmers, €16,651 for beef farmers and €12,680 for suckler farmers reveal the stark reality for the majority of our cattle and sheep farmers.
"It is notable that the direct payments on dairy farms are actually marginally higher than on cattle and sheep farms," added Mr Kent.
"However, the average dairy farm derives 23pc of income from direct payments but the reliance on direct payments on beef farms is 93pc of income.
"Worse still, on cattle rearing and sheep farms, direct payments equate to 113pc of income."
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