IFA calls on all farmers to pay levies after 'challenging' year for farm body
The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association has appealed to all farmers to support the lobby group by paying levies as they face into a tough year with CAP negotiations and Brexit.
Joe Healy warned that European leaders must step up and provide strong funding as crunch EU negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy budget get underway in Brussels.
“Now is the moment for this Government and our Taoiseach to show their mettle by standing up for the CAP," he said, adding the subsidies were responsible for injecting €1.8bn into the rural economy each year.
Finances closer to home turf were also under the spotlight as Mr Healy admitted it had been a challenging year for the IFA.
He pointed out a three-year plan was in place to close the current deficit and return to a balanced outcome over the next three years. Mr Healy said it would be a combination of rebuilding income and reducing costs.
“The IFA is like a farm business - we have a reserve there,” said Mr Healy. “You dip into that and replenish it in better years. We’ve done it in 2017, we’ll continue to do it in 2018.”
He added: “The plan is to ensure we get our levies and income streams back up and all the time as well looking at the outgoings in the organisation. But as of now there is absolutely no one looking at redundancies or anything of that nature.”
Director general of the IFA, Damian McDonald, who was appointed over a year ago after the organisation was engulfed in a pay controversy in 2015, said they were facing a hugely challenging year for farming and there was a structured plan in place.