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Majority of farmers 'seriously concerned' about their finances


Phil Hogan

Phil Hogan

Phil Hogan

Half of farmers are seriously concerned about their financial situation, as the impact of a turbulent year for milk and grain prices takes its toll.

A Farming Independent survey of farmers at last week's Ploughing found that more than 25pc have higher debt levels this year, while 55pc don't expect to make a standalone profit this year.

Just under half of dairy farmers expect to make a profit this year compared to three-quarters in a similar survey last year.

However, dairying still remains the most profitable farming sector as just a third of tillage and suckler farmers expect to make a profit this year once EU payments are excluded.

The farmers surveyed also had strong views on whether or not the pay and expenses of leaders and officers in farm organisations such as the IFA, ICMSA and ICSA should be made public.

Over 86pc want transparency on salaries and expenses - 11pc answered 'no', while a small number were undecided.

Export markets

Meanwhile, the concerns of farmers over export markets for Irish agricultural produce were raised by farm bodies with Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

Mr Hogan confirmed efforts were underway to open up the Russian market.

Department officials would be briefed this week on potentially topping-up the €13.7m in EU aid for the milk and pigmeat sector with State funds, said Mr Hogan.

His comments came as key stakeholders in the Dairy Forum are due to meet today to decide how the EU aid should be spent, with the IFA and ICMSA calling for a flat rate payment to dairy farms as the "fairest" option.

Indo Farming