Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD says Fianna Fáil has ensured farmers have been put to the fore in the agricultural policies of the next government.

“Fianna Fáil entered into these negotiations with an understanding of just how difficult it has been for farmers and their families in recent years. Beef prices are at an all time low, Brexit and proposed trade deals have left farmers fearing for their future.

“We want to ensure greater fairness, equity and transparency in the food chain. The establishment of a National Food Ombudsman (NFO) to enforce the Unfair Trading Practices Directive will deliver this. This new authority will enforce EU wide rules on prohibited unfair trading practices in the food supply chain.

“We have also secured setting up an Independent Agriculture Appeals Review panel in legislation. We will ensure the panel includes participants with practical knowledge and experience of farming. 

“Safeguarding the family model of farming is pivotal to the rural economy. Sectoral supports in beef, sheep, and dairy is a central tenant of this draft Programme for Government. We are committed to building upon schemes such as Areas of Natural Constraint, the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme – Suckler, the Knowledge Transfer Scheme and the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

“We will seek reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to reward farmers for sequestering carbon and restoring biodiversity; introduce a new cap on basic payments and seek to resolve under the next CAP the issue of support for ‘Forgotten Farmers’.

“Securing a new REPS 2 style environmental scheme is crucial in this proposed new programme. This scheme will include farmers not currently in GLAS who previously participated in AEOS, and those exiting GLAS, a review of the means test disregards for Farm Assist with a view to better rewarding farmers availing of the Scheme for their enterprise.  

“The Fianna Fáil imprint on the agriculture policy of this draft Programme for Government is there to see. I will be voting yes to the draft programme and call on all Fianna Fáil party members to support it to enable us to implement this transformative programme for agriculture,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.