New farm representative body goes national
The new farmer representative body established recently to represent hill and commonage farmers is to be called the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA).
The new organisation said it intended to become the "voice for farmers living in the most rural areas of the country."
In a statement released yesterday, the INHFA said it would hold a series of public meetings to discuss and formulate a policy platform for the association.
"We have put together a project team comprising of farmers from many areas around the country with the goal of having the mechanics of the new organisation in place over the coming number of weeks," INHFA stated.
"At that stage we will be holding public meetings where the grass roots of the new organisation will be encouraged to shape the policies and direction of its future," it added.
The new farm body has grown out of the Hill Farmers for Action group which opposed Department of Agriculture moves to introduce commonage management plans (CMPs) for upland areas.
Each CMP had to be supported by at least 50pc of the active shareholders on the particular commonage before farmers could apply for GLAS. And farmers had to make collective applications for the environmental scheme. These so called 'collective agreements' have been totally rejected by hill farmers.
The protest campaign against the Department policy, and resentment with the IFA over its perceived failure to support hill farmers, led to the formation of the new organisation.