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Thursday 24 May 2018

'Cash cut will drive away new farmers' - Dairy and beef farmer on impact of CAP cut

Padraic Joyce says some farmers rely on the CAP payments for the majority of their income
Padraic Joyce says some farmers rely on the CAP payments for the majority of their income

Claire Fox

Proposed cuts to the CAP budget will make farming less attractive to young people, a farmer in the west warned.

Padraic Joyce, who is a dairy and beef farmer in Islandeady, near Castlebar, Co Mayo, told the Irish Independent that conditions in the west of Ireland make farming already a difficult task.

"Some farmers rely on payments for the majority of their income. It's more costly to farm in this region than other parts of Ireland because of conditions, and a cut will mean less farmers going forward," he said.

"It's an increase in CAP budget we need here, not a decrease."

Mr Joyce, who has a 100-cow dairy herd, added that more needs to be done to show consumers how important the CAP budget is when it comes to supplying high quality, affordable food to supermarkets.

"There's a disconnect between consumers and CAP at the moment. In the 1960s, 30pc of shoppers' incomes went on groceries but today that is 13pc - that's because of CAP regulation. An education programme needs to be put in place to communicate this to consumers and bridge the divide."

He said that many farmers used the CAP payments and other payments to help pay for extra feed during the recent fodder crisis and that a possible cut wouldn't be good for farmer morale.

"There was an eight-month winter where farmers would've used the CAP budget to buy feed or pay merchants. The Government and TDs have to highlight the importance of CAP and ensure we get an increase in the budget."

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Mr Joyce and his wife Breege are one of four farms across the country that will be opening their gates as part of Agri Aware's National Open Farm Day, with the aim of promoting CAP this bank holiday Monday, May 7.


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