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Plight of Pig and Poultry Sectors Goes Unrecognised

by 5m Editor
25 June 2010, at 11:33a.m.

IRELAND - IFA Pigs Committee Chairman Tim Cullinan said, “Having reviewed the consultation paper released by the Department of Agriculture on the ‘Nitrates Regulations, I am horrified to see that the plight of pig and poultry farmers has not been recognised despite a number of submissions being made to the Department of Agriculture over the last three years.”

Mr Cullinan said, “In 2006, the Department had to accept that the regulations, as originally written, would destroy the pig meat sector, wiping out an industry worth over €300m in exports and adding 8,000 people to the dole queues. Following intensive IFA lobbying, the Department introduced a ‘transitional arrangement’ to allow more time for them to find alternatives to land spreading of manure.”

He said, “The working group set up to deliver on this objective comprised of senior officials from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Environment, Teagasc and the EPA, as well as the processing sector and farmers. A number of constructive recommendations were put forward, but none of these were acknowledged or followed through by Agriculture House.”

Mr Cullinan said, “IFA has continually looked for a response to the working group recommendations, but this has not been forthcoming. This makes the consultation documents approach all the more infuriating, as it is clear now the working group was only a talking shop and the regulators never intended taking its recommendations seriously.”

If the transitional arrangements are not rolled over, the cost of transporting manure over much greater distances will be totally unsustainable for farmers. Apart for the cost factor, the regulations make the spreading of organic fertilisers unattractive and this also needs to be rectified.

“Tillage farmers want to use organic manures both for their excellent fertilization properties but also to reduce the cost of grain production. The pig farmer needs the tillage farmer to grow the grain at a realistic price; this is a farming loop where the two sectors are heavily interdependent.”

“The transitional provisions for pig and poultry farmers must be extended, this is an absolute necessity to ensure viability of the sector into the future as well as to give the Department the time they need to find workable solutions,” Mr Cullinan concluded