Pat McCormack President of ICMSA_ - Copy (2)

Suspend Nitrates Cow Banding For 2023.  –  ICMSA.

The President of ICMSA, Mr. Pat McCormack has today called on the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine to suspend the Nitrates Cow Banding proposal for 2023 because it is quite clear that the system is not sufficiently prepared to implement the new regime in 2023 and farmers have not been sufficiently informed of the impending changes.   

ICMSA, Mr. McCormack said, has been consistently raising concerns regarding the new nitrates regulations since their introduction earlier this year and with two months left in 2022, dairy farmers have not been given the required information to make decisions for 2023, decisions let’s be very clear will have a major impact on their future in dairy farming.    The changes under the Nitrates will directly hit farmers incomes and it is simply unacceptable the way farmers are being treated on this matter.  

Mr. McCormack said, that ICMSA has been receiving calls from dairy farmers in a panicked situation where they are being informed for the first time by their advisors that they will have to reduce cow numbers in 2023 or get additional land and this is simply not good enough.   The suggestion that farmers may be placed in band 3 and will have to prove otherwise shows a complete lack of respect for family dairy farmers and if the Ministers are serious about bringing farmers with them, they should immediately suspend cow banding for 2023, develop a proper and fair regime following proper consultation with farmer representatives and allow farmers sufficient time to adjust their farming practices if required.    In addition, the N figure for slurry export is quite clearly incorrect and this needs to be corrected so that farmers have another viable option to address the nitrate levels on their farms.

The Government seems intent on introducing a forensic level of checking on farms, farmers are justifiably very angry at the approach that is being adopted, an approach that is going to slash the incomes of many farmers and the Ministers need to pause, suspend cow banding for 2023 and allow time so that farmers are given sufficient time to consider practical options rather than make panicked decisions which is going to be the result of the current Government approach, concluded Mr. McCormack.

ENDS      27 October 2022

Pat McCormack is at (087) 7608958.

ICMSA Head Office: (061) 314677.