Speaking following a meeting with senior officials of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the President of ICMSA has said that the current nitrate proposals will lead to significant additional costs for many farmers while also being highly impractical in terms of implementation. John Comer said that the proposals will require revision if they are to be made fit-for-purpose at farm level and he also questioned the scientific basis for some of the proposals, specifically those related to farm roadways and the placement of water troughs.
“ICMSA has repeatedly stressed that the new regulations governing nitrates must not impose additional costs on farmers and must be practical and easy-to-implement at farm level. We have engaged closely on the issues of farm roadways, water troughs, fencing of watercourses and soil testing and find ourselves very disappointed with the regulations being proposed. For instance, in relation to roadways and water troughs, some farmers who followed the best advice available will now find that they will have to substantially alter their investments – at a considerable cost to themselves – to meet the regulations and we find that unacceptable. ICMSA and farmers fully understand the need to protect and improve water quality but we will not accept regulations that simply do not make sense and are not based on scientific evidence. Farmers have more than enough financial demands being placed on them already without requiring them to make unnecessary investments at variance with what was recently accepted as best practice”, said Mr Comer.
“ICMSA fully supports the Government Departments in their efforts to secure a derogation for the next four years and we firmly believe that the scientific evidence is there to support our derogation application. But the proposals in relation to roadways, water troughs and the fencing of watercourses are of very serious concern to farmers and we believe that these proposals can be amended, made more practical and cost-efficient without losing any effectiveness in ensuring water quality and this is the option we should be choosing”, concluded the ICMSA President.
Ends 26 September.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office