'Vulnerable' dairy men could benefit from coupling proposal
Farm organisations are working on proposals to ring-fence a portion of a recoupled EU payment for smaller dairy farmers.
While dairy leaders in both the IFA and the ICMSA were reluctant to be drawn on the exact details of their proposals, they admitted that plans were advancing to establish a new payment targeted at "vulnerable" dairy herds.
The IFA's Kevin Kiersey maintained that dairy farmers could qualify for a coupled payment on the basis that they were farming on heavy soils.
"The regulations don't limit a coupled payment to only vulnerable sectors, but also vulnerable areas," he said.
"Dairy farmers in the west and southwest that struggled to survive all last spring deserve a coupled payment as much as farmers in any other sector."
Mr Kiersey admitted that extending the payment to the dairy sector would also make it more politically palatable.
"The political reality is that there is a significant element of the dairy sector that will oppose the introduction of recoupling payments, since it will represent another cut of up to 10pc on their payments that have already been cut," he said.