The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) held a pre-Budget 2022 lobby day at The Round Room in the Mansion House, Dublin 2, on Wednesday 22 September.
IFA county chairs got the chance to meet with TDs and senators to stress the main priorities for farmers across Ireland in the upcoming budget.
A common shared issue was the importance of the suckler cow and ewe premiums.
Imelda Walsh North Tipperary IFA chair
"We are an island nation with all different types of land and enterprises which we need to support and grow.
“Last week, Professor Gerry Boyle made wild, off-the-cuff statements in relation to completely disseminating the suckler herd.
"Farmers around the country are hugely annoyed by these completely unjustified comments.”
Ann Baker, north Cork
“The biggest issue which I think should be front and centre is the co-financing of schemes such as the suckler cow scheme, the Sheep Welfare Scheme, TAMs, BEEP and GLAS.
"It is also important, going forward into the new CAP, that the Government can co-finance those schemes up to 57%.
The €1.5bn carbon tax budget should be ringfenced for a future agri-environmental scheme for farmers.
"We cannot forget about generational renewal. It’s about having that conversation about succession in a timely fashion and not leaving it too late.
"The relief of taxation and schemes that we already have must be kept - they are important features in any succession planning."
Chair Sean Dennehy
"Our main priority in the sheep sector is to get an increase in the sheep budget from €17m up to €50m, so that we can deliver the €30/ewe premium.
"It is a very low-income sector and a vulnerable sector. A lot of sheep are carried on hills and mountains where no other type of farming can go on."
"The suckler cow is paramount to rural Cavan. We have fragmented land, our landscape gives to the suckler cow and we need her to be sustained.
"For every €1 in payments into any rural hinterland, there is a reaction of about €4.28 into the rural community."
Regional chair Pat Murphy
"My main priorities are that we get proper co-financing for Pillar II funding for the next round of CAP, that must be prioritised in this budget too.
"Eight out of 10 farmers in the west of Ireland rely on drystock farming, whether that’s suckler cows, cattle or sheep.
"The majority of suckler farmers are working off-farm to try and support their families. I have three kids, two in Leaving Cert and one in college and a suckler farm would not be sustainable to run my household."
County chair Brendan McLaughlin
"We have marginal land in Donegal and we cannot have dairy herds on this land. We want no cut to the national suckler herd full stop!
"All we have is the suckler cow and we are more carbon efficient than any other sector because we use very little fertiliser.
“We are also looking for a zero VAT rate on all vaccines."