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Sheep and cattle farmers say they are struggling and want newly-elected MEPs to help

The ICSA says that money from Europe is being sent to already profitable dairy farms.

Image: Sheep and Cows via Shutterstock

AN ASSOCIATION THAT represents cattle and sheep farmers says its members are struggling.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association says that the current European agricultural policy has damaged the income of Ireland’s farmers.

ICSA president Patrick Kent has called for a “complete re-think” of the rural development proposals in light of the Teagasc National Farm Survey estimates for 2013, which show a collapse of 22% in cattle suckler incomes and 39% in sheep incomes.

“It is now evident that we need Pillar 2 funding to be substantially re-focused in favour of suckler and sheep farmers. Average farm income in 2013 stands at €9,594 for sucklers and €11,178 for sheep, compared with dairy incomes of €64,350.”

The ICSA says that European funding is being diverted to dairy farms, which are already profitable.

“Minister [Simon] Coveney can no longer bury his head in the sand on this.

“There is no justification for using huge sums from Pillar 2 for very profitable dairy farms or large-scale tillage operations in the light of the income crisis that is highlighted again in these figures.

“The Government also needs to get real and tackle the abuse of cattle and sheep farms by greedy retailers, who retain a disproportionate share of the final retail price while livestock producers are heading for bankruptcy.”

Kent called on Ireland’s newly-elected MEPs to insist that EU Pillar 2 funding is channelled to the struggling sectors.

Read: There are now almost 50,000 more full-time jobs than last year, many of them in agriculture

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