Budget will be first real test for minister - IFA

At a packed meeting in Carlow of 300 IFA officers from the South Leinster region, the clear message sent to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney was that he must protect vital farm schemes and tax reliefs for farmers in the upcoming Budget.

At a packed meeting in Carlow of 300 IFA officers from the South Leinster region, the clear message sent to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney was that he must protect vital farm schemes and tax reliefs for farmers in the upcoming Budget.

Addressing the meeting, IFA President John Bryan said the Minister was facing his first real test in defending farm families and the agricultural sector around the Cabinet table. “Farmers expect the Minister to retain all farm schemes and tax reliefs, similar to last year’s Budget outcome.”

John Bryan said inputs costs on farms had escalated, and even though commodity prices had improved for most farmers, any income gains would be eroded significantly by cost increases.

Speakers from the floor said farm families did not have the protection of a Croke Park-type deal, and farmers demanded that Minister Coveney and Government TDs defend all the remaining supports which underpinned one of the most productive, indigenous sectors in the economy.

On CAP, the leaked proposals were unanimously rejected by the officers, who were vehemently opposed to any plan that would decimate the incomes and viability of the sector. “When real negotiations start in early 2012, the Government must defend resolutely the Single Farm Payment for active, productive farmers,” John Bryan concluded.