Commenting on the current review of the Nitrates derogation, the Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm & Rural Affairs Committee, Mr. Denis Drennan said that ICMSA is opposed to any additional measures being placed upon farms stocked below 170kgN/ha. “Farms must be environmentally sustainable but also economically viable” said Mr. Drennan, “Placing further restrictions on this cohort of farmers has the potential to undermine their viability.”
ICMSA is also concerned in relation to suggestions that there are likely to be additional restrictions on farmers that export slurry to other farmers to ensure their stocking rates stays below the 170kgN/ha. Almost 5,000 farmers export slurry to maintain a stocking rate below 170kgN/ha and any changes to the rules could have very serious implications for the farmers concerned.
In relation to the Department’s drive to promote blanket use of low emission slurry spreading equipment, though an effective tool to combat greenhouse gas emissions, the clear practicalities of such widespread adoption must be overcome. “The very obvious fact is that there simply isn’t enough low emission equipment or contractors out there to make this happen and its suitability on many land types also needs to be addressed as well as the financial costs on farmers”, said Mr Drennan. In terms of the purchase of such equipment, Mr. Drennan confirmed that ICMSA is seeking a 60% grant from TAMS for low emission slurry equipment which must be available to all farmers regardless of age and in addition to the current investment ceilings. We are also lobbying that farmers should be able to get the VAT back on this equipment and it should qualify for accelerated capital allowances, continued Mr. Drennan.
The Farm & Rural Affairs Committee Chairperson said that it was vital that ICMSA’s lobbying was not interpreted as a resistance to new technology: “Farmers will embrace technology and technological solutions but where those solutions are hugely expensive and are being advanced to benefit wider society than we think it’s right that policy helps the farmers concerned to purchase and use the technology for that greater good”. Quite clearly, CAP Post 2020 presents an opportunity to re-evaluate the use of Pillar II funds and ICMSA is very clear of the view that an Agri-environment scheme that accommodates and ensures the sustainable development of intensive farming must be part of the new schemes under Pillar II post 2020, concluded Mr. Drennan.
Ends 4 June 2019.
Denis Drennan, 086-8389401
Chairperson ICMSA Farm & Rural Affairs Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office