• The Irish Farmers' Association has warned that more needs to be done to tackle illegal dumping in the countryside.

    It says over the Christmas season there's a significant increase in littering, as people dump cans, bottles, used wrapping paper and even the leftovers of Christmas dinners.

    The IFA is calling on local authorities to develop a post-Christmas plan that would deter people from dumping rubbish.

    IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney wants to see more sanction in place for serial dumpers, and changes to legislation so that farmers are no longer held legally responsible for reckless dumping by others....

  • The IFA has made a submission to the Department of Environment calling for urgent action to tackle the issue of reckless littering in rural areas.

    The Association has pointed to the increased dumping of packaging waste generated from online purchases, builders’ rubble and household waste as examples of a growing problem of serial dumping in the countryside.

    IFA’s Environment Chairman Paul O’Brien has called for five key actions to address the increasing scourge of indiscriminate dumping and is seeking a meeting with the Department of Environment in the coming weeks to make progress on these proposals.

    • Details of those who receive on-the spot fines on more than two occasions published on local authority websites.
    • The regional waste enforcement authorities must ensure that all local authorities have a litter prevention plan in place, which is being implemented.
    • All local authorities must publish a list of convicted serial dumpers and seek tougher sentences.
    • All retailers, including online, which put waste packing on the market, must be required to fund a recycling programme for the correct management of these materials.
    • Change the waste management laws to ensure that reckless dumpers are pursued by local authorities and enforcement agencies, not the farmers whose land is dumped upon.




  • Farmers from across the country are taking part in an IFA protest today outside the Department of Health in Dublin, in relation to the Fair Deal nursing home scheme.

    The IFA is calling on the Government to deliver on its commitment to introduce a three-year cap on productive assets for farmers.

    At present under the Fair Deal scheme, a person pays 80% of their total income, such as a pension to help fund their care, and on top of this, they commit 75% of the value of their assets as a yearly contribution.

    In the case of the family home, the contribution is capped at 3 years, or 22.5% of the value of the home.

    However, farmers and business person's other assets, such as land, are hit with a 7.5% charge every year, indefinitely.

    IFA President Joe Healy says nursing home fees are placing a huge financial burden on farms, and the Government passed a motion last year agreeing to a three year cap, as farm assets are income-generating assets that pass on to the next generation.

    Mr Healy says the changes need to be introduced without delay, and retrospectively applied to last July, when the commitment was given.

  • The Irish Farmers Association says processors and retailers must increase the price of beef paid to farmers.

    It's calling on the Agriculture Minister to hold an immediate meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce to hold them to account.

    It says the Bord Bia price index shows Irish prices for beef are now behind the European and UK prices.

    Galway based IFA President Joe Healy says farmers may blockade retail distribution centres again, depending on what happens at the meeting.

  • IFA President Joe Healy said the change in carbon emissions attributed to agriculture today was not unexpected, due to the increased market demand coinciding with the ending of the milk quota regime in 2015, which had been in place since 1984.
    He said, "Ireland is the most carbon efficient producer of milk in the European Union and our beef farmers are in the top five.

    Mr Healy says Ireland has a natural advantage in food production due to our grass-based production system. At present no credit is given in the climate data to the contribution that Ireland’s permanent pasture and hedgerows make to carbon sequestration. This is not giving a fair picture of the overall positive contribution of agriculture,” he says.

    He claims Irish farmers have been frustrated for years due to milk quotas and that we need to evaluate the increased emissions in the context of the economic and social sustainability of rural Ireland.
    Teagasc has set out a climate roadmap with 27 measures that can be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include the delivery of the huge potential for the production of farm-scale renewable energy and the Government needs to incentivise this,” he says.

    Joe Healy concluded by restating his call on An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar to demonstrate the necessary climate leadership required by coordinating the coming together of the necessary government departments and state agencies to deliver the full climate abatement potential of the Teagasc climate report.

  • The IFA claims a new trade deal between the US and the EU is another huge blow to Irish farming.


    Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed an agreement that will allow the States to export a lot more beef to Europe.


    It follows the Mercosur deal, which would give South America much more access to the market also.


    Both agreements have to be approved by the European Parliament - but IFA President Joe Healy is hitting out.


    “We export 90% of the meat we produce in Ireland, 95% of that goes either into the U.K or Europe. So, any deal that means more meat coming into Europe is bad for Ireland,” said Mr Healy.

  • Sheep farmers are facing additional costs of almost €2 million euro per year, as a result of the decision to impose compulsory electronic tagging on all sheep from the 1st October next.

    The Agriculture Minister Michael Creed announced the move last week, but farming organisations are unhappy with the level of consultation with them ahead of announcing the decision, and the costs involved for the 35,000 sheep farmers across the country.

    The IFA National Sheep Committee delegation, led by Galway-based IFA President Joe Healy, met with Minister Creed and his officials yesterday to outline their concerns in relation the electronic tagging.

    Séan Dennehy is the IFA National Sheep Chairman  - he says the sheep committee will meet tomorrow and will then make a submission to the Minister, at his request.

    Speaking to Midwest News, Mr Dennehy said the additional cost burden on farmers is their biggest concern…

  • The Irish Farmers Association is concerned of more widespread flooding over the next three days.


    Met Eireann is warning 15 counties to expect heavy rain from today until Tuesday.


    The advisory affects the midlands and west, which was badly flooded last weekend.


    IFA president Tim Cullinan says farmers are very worried about the next few days.

  • IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has said the first batch of 130 appeals of the ANC Review has been sent to the Independent Panel. 

    The Panel was set up to deal with areas that were either taken out or those trying to get in for the first time.  1,500 individual appeals have been lodged.

     Speaking following a meeting with the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise, IFA is urging farmers who have not yet appealed to do so immediately as the closing date is next Monday, Apr 8th. He also called on the Department to make contact with all appellants and to send them the information relevant to their townland.

     IFA is advising all farmers, including the 4,000 who qualify for the first time, as well as those who lost out, to tick the ANC box on the 2019 BPS online application form.

     The ANC scheme supports nearly 100,000 farmers, and is worth €250m in 2019 following the Budget increase last October.

  • The Irish Farmers Association President says he's 'hopeful' fresh talks aimed at resolving the beef dispute will end the crisis.

    Discussions are expected to resume on Monday, three weeks after the orginals talks broke down.

    Farmers are calling on factories to give them a better price for their animals.

    However, Meat Industry Ireland says the price they get represents the average in a tough EU market.

    IFA President, Joe Healy, says it's important a resolution is found.

  • IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has welcomed a recent increase in Farm Assist payments, and is reminding farmers that the IFA offers an online calculator to help determine if they qualify for Farm Assist and what level of payment they could expect.

     Farm Assist is a means tested income support scheme available to farm families when their income falls below a certain threshold. Farm Assist acts as an income supplement providing a top-up to bring incomes in line with social protection thresholds.

     From March 21st, the maximum weekly rate of Farm Assist payments increased by €5 to €198 as part of increases to social protection payments announced in Budget 2018.

    The IFA Farm Assist Calculator is available in the Farm Finance Section of the IFA Website at https://www.ifa.ie/farm-finance/farm-assist-calculator/

  • The Irish Farmers Association says it's disappointed to walk away from today's Beef Market Taskforce meeting without a price increase for beef farmers.


    The group called for an immediate and significant price increase to the amount they are being paid for beef products.


    Today marked the first meeting of the Taskforce, which was forced to adjourn proceedings two months ago following a confrontation between farmers and meat industry representatives.


    IFA President Joe Healy says they wasted no time in setting out their position for a price increase today, but walked away from the meeting empty handed.


    Meanwhile, the Senior Director of Meat Industry Ireland says he will inform processors of farmer’s calls for an immediate price increase.


    However, Cormac Healy says the Taskforce must meet for further discussions in the New Year.

  • IFA President Joe Healy insists that there is mounting farmer anger that the Environment Minister Richard Bruton would support a call for teenagers to consume less meat and dairy product and he has again called for the withdrawal of a new on line Green Schools pack produced by An Taisce - promoting climate change advice .The school pack talks about reducing the consumption of meat and dairy in our diets. Farmers claim it promotes veganism.

     However, speaking to Midwest News yesterday Minister Bruton was clear that he is not for turning on the provision of the Green Schools packs for school

    He was adamant that censorship is not the answer, saying  young people would not appreciate not being able to discuss what they eat and its impact on the environment.

    Minister Bruton stated that when he was young there was always one day in the week that meat was off the menu and that was replaced by fish.

    Speaking about the new Green School pack today Joe Healy says its content is not consistent with the dietary advice from the Department of Health. It is clear that many parents already find it challenging to ensure that their children eat a balanced diet.

    He concludes that the pack must be withdrawn or amended. 

  • Irish farmers are demanding price rises as China expands its international import markets for meat to replace the millions of pigs killed by African swine fever this year.

    IFA president, Galway based Joe Healy, insists that access to Chinese markets must deliver a return above the cost of production for Irish farmers.

    It comes as the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed leads a trade visit to China this week with Bord Bia.

    According to today’s Irish Independent,the demand for beef in China is said to be boosting prices, business and profits for European and South American meat-packers as it re-shapes global markets for pork, beef and chicken.

    Rabobank estimates that China's pig herd, the world's largest, fell by 50pc in the first eight months of this year.

    With 21 Irish plants approved, industry sources here say Irish beef exports to China could now rise to 28,000 tonne, worth up to €170m annually.

    Dawn Meats expects to supply €5m worth of beef a year, following recent audits that gave a number of its plants approval to export.

    However, competition in China is set to heat up, with many more meat plants in Argentina and Brazil having recently been approved to export.


  • The beef talks in Backweston, county Kildare adjourned after more than 12 hours of discussions between the various parties in the early hours of this morning.

    The independent Chairman Michael Dowling is to circulate a document based on the proposals that were put forward.

    The talks began yesterday at 2pm and took place at the Department of Agriculture's campus. The Beef Plan Movement, IFA, ICMSA, ICSA, INHFA and Macra were all at the meeting, plus Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and officials from the Department of Agriculture.

    IFA President Joe Healy said some progress had been made on market transparency and the introduction of a price index.

    There is also a commitment to look at the market specifications that impact on price that exist in the grid.

    It is expected that the talks will re-convene on Thursday or Monday next.


  • The IFA says it will be forced to escalate its protest against AIB unless the bank stops selling off certain farmer loans.

    Earlier today a number of farmers held a demonstration outside the banks AGM in Ballsbridge.

    The IFA says it's wrong that AIB has decided to sell off loans to a US fund, instead of entering into long-term arrangements with farmers which would allow them to pay off their debts.

  • IFA President Joe Healy lead IFA National Officers and members of the IFA Livestock Committee in a protest at the EU Commission offices in Dublin this morning over what it says is “the double standards” of the Commission in its reckless pursuit of a ‘Sell Out’ trade deal with the South American group of Mercosur countries.

     Mr Healy says IFA will be there to oppose EU Commission plans to sell out Irish farming in a deal with the devil that is Brazil and its new President Bolsonaro.

     “It is totally unacceptable that the Commission is prepared to sacrifice Irish and European farmers, but they are also giving the green light to the further destruction of rainforests. Farmers are sick of the double speak from the EU Commission which lectures us on climate change, he told Midwest News, but is prepared do a deal with a country with a climate destruction agenda.  

    The Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office has volumes of reports which expose in stark terms the failure of the Brazilian authorities, in particular, to meet EU standards on animal welfare, traceability, food safety and the environment,” he claims.

    At a time when the EU is on the brink of losing the UK market with Brexit, it is reckless of the Commission to agree to a deal which would see tens of thousands of tons of substandard beef from Brazil and other South American countries come onto the European market.

     The IFA President and the Livestock Chairman Angus Woods met the chef de Cabinet DG Trade in Brussels on Friday, where they set out IFA’s outright opposition to any deal. The issues raised were also highlighted in the strong communication by the European farm organisation COPA opposing the deal.

    In a separate communication to the Commission, some 340 NGOs from across Europe have said the deal should be abandoned.

  • The Irish Farmers Association has reached a settlement with its former Secretary General Pat Smith for €1.9 million.

    The settlement comes ahead of a High Court case which was due to get underway next week.

    Pat Smith worked for the organisation for 26 years and was IFA Chief Executive for 7 years until he resigned amid a pay controversy in late 2015.

    He took two cases against the Irish Farmers Association - one relating to his severance package and one alleging he was defamed.  

    The IFA has now agreed to pay €1.55 million in respect of the severance package and €350,000 in relation to the defamation.

  • The IFA National Sheep Chairman says demand for lamb in the run up to Easter is strong with factories anxious for stock.

    Sean Dennehy says factories were paying €5.30 to €5.50/kg up to 23kgs carcase weight, with up to €5.60/kg paid.

    Some live buying at €70 over the weight was also taking place.

    Mr. Dennehy says factories are eager for suitable stock and some feeders and producer groups are doing better deals.

  • The targets set out in the Government's climate action plan are very demanding for agriculture- that's according to the IFA's Galway-based President Joe Healy.

    The plan, launched yesterday, aims to cut Ireland's carbon emissions on a sustained basis up to 2030, which will be backed by annual increases in carbon tax.

    It contains 183 measures which Environment Minister Richard Bruton says will involve radical change in the way we do things.

    Roscommon-Galway Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has described the ambitious plan as "a savage attack" on rural Ireland.

    He gives an example where a farm's agricultural contracting bill could increase by hundreds of euro per year by increasing taxes on petrol and diesel.

    IFA President Joe Healy says the plan would have a significant impact on rural Ireland, and told Midwest News that the infrastructure would need to be put in place by Government to implement the actions set out in the Teagasc roadmap on reducing emissions....