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Tuesday 18 December 2018

New farm group hoping to 'strike a chord' with disillusioned small to medium farmers

Thomas Gunning and Donie Shine of the Irish Family Farm Rights Group
Thomas Gunning and Donie Shine of the Irish Family Farm Rights Group
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

A new farm organisation is hoping to “strike a chord” with small to medium farmers in the north-west of the country who they say have become disillusioned with the system.

The Irish Family Farm Rights Group (IFFRG) is holding a meeting at the Station House Hotel in Letterkenny, Co Donegal this Sunday, 11 February at 7pm.

Donegal beef, suckler and sheep farmer, Paul McDaid of the IFFRG told FarmIreland that he is organising the meeting as small to medium farmers in the west have become disillusioned with Irish agriculture because they feel they’re not well represented.

“On the ground so many farmers feel left behind and feel they need representation. We’re trying to strike a chord with farmers who feel disillusioned or who feel hopeless,"he said.

“There’s a very bleak mood amongst farmers. A lot feel there’s no money in farming and it’s not sustainable.”

Although farming in Mallow, Co Cork IFFRG member Donie Shine thinks it's important that farmers in the west aren’t forgotten about and that it’s the same issues facing farmers all across the country.

“They’ve been forgotten about up there. Someone needs to shout stop and fight the corner of the small farmer. It’s not just in the west though, there’s bad land in every county in Ireland, so everyone’s affected.” He said.

Managing Director of the IFFRG added that the group is calling for a farmers' postal survey on the proposed CAP Budget 2020-27 as they feel the current CAP meetings happening across the country “may not go far enough” to gauge farmers' opinions.

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“The farmer survey could easily be carried out by just clipping the survey sheet to the Area Aid Application Form that every farmer in the country will get in the post from the Department of Agriculture in the next couple of months,"he said.

"The survey sheet would outline all of the options as to how the CAP funds could be divided up between farmers in their single farm payments and the farmer could tick a box or rank in order of his or her preference the options that best suit him or her.”

The group are also campaigning for an end to the 'Four Movement Rule' and have received over 7,500 signatures across half of the countries marts and plan to visit remaining marts this year.

Mr Gunning added that the group  would like to see a yellow card system implemented during Department inspections.

“If there’s a tag after falling off or something small like that farmers shouldn’t be penalised. They should be given a yellow card warning. Farmers should get a second chance,” he said.

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