Commenting on the government’s latest nitrates proposals, ICMSA President Pat McCormack (pictured) described them as excessive and likely to affect the incomes of farmers – especially commercial family farmers – who he said were “The economic backbone of rural Ireland. And who are generally totally dependent on agriculture for their income.
“Farmers understand the challenge of water quality through programs such as ASSAP, GLAS and TAMS.
“They are already taking action which will improve water quality and it should be noted that the water quality in Ireland compares very favorably with that of other EU countries. The quality of our water is improving. is improving and this trend will continue in the years to come without imposing regulations or additional costs. This only makes more expensive a policy with which we already agree, ”he said.
Mr McCormack identified the cow banding proposal as potentially having very serious implications for farmers producing over 6500 kg of milk per cow and said it would work akin to a herd reduction policy. He said the banding proposal should not go ahead until more research is done and policy guidance is available in terms of the most sustainable dairy cow in the future.
“This is a question that must be answered before implementing a banding policy. The proposal to reduce chemical nitrogen by 10% in 2022 and perhaps 15% by 2024 will again affect the same cohort of economically vital full-time farmers and although we all recognize the need to use l ‘nitrogen more efficiently, arbitrary cuts like those proposed can have a serious and unnecessary impact on affected farmers, ”he said.
The President of ICMSA said the proposed changes to the closed times for slurry spreading and the introduction of a closed period for dirty water are excessive and ICMSA believes that the current rules for slurry and contaminated water should be maintained.
He said it is simply unacceptable to expect farmers to sign a document that will see as yet unknown scientific criteria used to extend the period until October 15 and that farmers are entitled to full information on this. question before being able to pass judgment on the matter.