'Farmers must be compensated for environment work'
Farmers are not properly compensated for the environmental and wildlife preservation work they do as part of their everyday farming enterprises, and this has to be addressed both by Irish politicians and in Brussels.
That's the view of Ailbhe Gerrard, who runs an organic farm on the shores of Lough Derg in Co Tipperary.
"We are facing a biodiversity crisis and it is the farmers who are solely taking care of the health of the soil and the water supply, and this has to be reflected in the distribution of the funds in the next Common Agricultural Policy funds," says the 48-year-old.
"It is critical that the CAP funding recognises the threat to sustainable farming.
"If you look at biodiversity you see that a third of our insect species are under threat and we have problems with our water quality and the health of our soils.
"The farmers are the only ones dealing with these issues, and the CAP funding should be used to assist them."
Ailbhe bought Brookfield farm near Nenagh eight years ago and runs a lamb, barley and forestry enterprise, divided evenly over the 75 acres; she has won numerous Good Taste awards.
She has been nominated for the inaugural RDS Talamh awards for sustainable farming and for the Forestry Awards.