• Irish farm organisations have described as "insufficient" a €76 million support package announced by the European Commission for the meat and daily sectors.

    Under the terms of the package, the EU will provide €30 million for the private storage of dairy products, and a further €46 million for storage of beef and lamb.

     The ICMSA says the EU Covid support package "is so obviously inadequate that it bordered on an insult".

    ICMSA President Pat McCormack says the package completely fails to recognise the pressures on farmers and the wider food industry at this time.

    The Irish Farmers Association says the package is not nearly enough to support beef farmers in particular through the Covid-19 crisis, as it amounts to less an €8 for every farmer in Europe.

    IFA President Tim Cullinan says the financial crisis for beef finishers as a result of the coronavirus beef price collapse is so sever, that a much more substantial financial package - involving market supports and direct payment aid - is required.

    And the ICSA says the overall effort from the EU "falls very short of what is required".



  • ICMSA has issued a reminder to farmers to take measures that might avoid Cross-Compliance fines relating to exceeding their nitrates limits. Denis Drennan, Chairperson of their Farm & Rural Affairs Committee, said that fines for breaching the limits had become quite frequent and he urged    farmers who had breached the limits to inform the Department by tomorrow,31 December ,of the measures taken by them to bring their farms back under their limits. 

    Mr Drennan said that ICMSA believes that the current penalty regime is cumbersome, unfair on farmers and should have been reformed as part of the Nitrates Review. But this had not happened and it is in farmers’ own interests to now check their Nitrate status and make sure that they are meeting the regulations and avoid a financial penalty. 

    If farmers have breached these limits, they must now inform the Department before the December 31 on the measures they took during the year to bring them under the limit.   Affected farmers need to complete the relevant paperwork and the forms are available on Department website - and send it to the Nitrates Department, Johnstown Castle, Wexford by tomorrow’s deadline to avoid penalties.







  • ICMSA Deputy President Lorcan McCabe has advised farmers that the preliminary checks system for BPS applications aimed at notifying applicants of any non-compliance in the areas of overclaims, dual claims, and overlaps is currently under way and will close in the next week.  Mr McCabe said that farmers can rectify any such non-compliance by the deadline of midnight 19 June with no penalty applied where the non-compliance issue is fully rectified by that date. He said that ICMSA is urging all farmers to check their BPS online accounts immediately. 

    “Where a farmer is signed up for text message alerts, a text will issue to advise them that they have a notification on their BPS account.  All notifications and responses can only be made via the online BPS system”, he said, going on to point out that given that there was 100% online BPS application in 2018, these checks should benefit to farmers by increasing the efficiency with which BPS applications can be processed, ICMSA has repeatedly stressed that there should be no delay in informing farmers if there is a further issue with their application and this must be done as soon as possible so that farmers can respond and get the issue resolved well in advance of the payment date.  

    “In the context of the extremely difficult year farmers have had to date, it’s critical that the ANC payment is made in September, the BPS payment in October and that all farmers must receive their payment within the Farmers Charter timeframe commitment. We do also think that the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine must seek the maximum possible advance payment as cashflow is - and will continue to be  - a major issue on farms and it would help massively if a 70% advance payment at a minimum is secured”,  said Mr McCabe.


  • With the silage season almost in full swing,  the ICMSA is appealing for all rural road users to be aware of extra tractors and machinery on roads over the next six weeks or so.

    With agricultural machinery getting bigger over the years, it's important that all roads users take extra care in the coming weeks - particularly on narrow rural roads.

    Denis Drennan, Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm & Rural Affairs Committee, says farmers and contractors should be mindful of other road users, while motorists need to leave extra time to reach their destination in case they get stuck behind machinery.

    Speaking with Midwest News, he said all road users need to take extra precautions to ensure silage can be harvested safely without any road collisions.

  • Rural roads users are being asked to exercise patience and awareness as this year’s silage season begins.

    The Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm & Rural Affairs Committee Denis Drennan says rural roads will see a massive increase in heavy traffic over the next four weeks as farmers cut, bale and bring in silage.  A large number of people are using the roads for walking and cycling in the absence of gyms or sports club training. He says they may be taken unaware by the large increase in tractor and trailer volumes. The use of headphones can mislead people about the proximity of large machinery.  

    Mr. Drennan is urging farmers and contractors engaged in silage work to be extra careful and is asking them to pull in, where possible, and allow any build up of traffic to pass.

  • The ICMSA has welcomed changes in the new Heritage Bill which will allow the cutting of the sides of hedges on rural roads to be brought back from 1st September to 1st August, as a road safety measure.

    The Heritage Bill is currently at Final Stage in the Dail, and the ICMSA says it carefully balances the need to protect wildlife and the environment, with the requirements to allow safe driving on rural roads.

    Denis Drennan, Chairperson of the ICMSA's Farm & Rural Affairs Committee says many rural roads are in a dangerous condition due to overgrown hedges and obscured sightlines.

    Speaking with Paula Donnellan, he welcomed the minor changes in the new Bill in relation to when hedge-cutting is permitted.