CAP an 'obvious target' for cuts with tillage farmers vulnerable
The tillage sector is "extremely vulnerable" with many likely to go out of business if faced with cuts to direct payments, a CAP event in Kilkenny has heard.
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has warned that Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding was being viewed as an "obvious target" for cuts amid increasing budget demands in Europe.
A wide-ranging IFA-EU Commission Citizens' Dialogue event on CAP in Kilkenny heard that farmers from all sectors had major concerns about the future of payments with a new seven-year budget post-2020 being decided.
Jimmy Brett of grain merchants Brett Brothers said he feels the tillage sector is not "fully respected" by the agricultural sector for the vital role it plays.
"The danger with reduced direct payments, if it happens, is that cereals are extremely vulnerable," he warned, with a significant portion of income coming from direct payments.
"If there is a significant downturn in direct payments to them, I could see a lot of cereal farmers going out of business. It will happen not just in Ireland but in other parts of Europe," he said.
Mr Brett said there was currently a major problem sourcing raw materials for the milling industry, with dairy herds feeding heavily at the moment.