Farm incomes 'fall 22 per cent'
Preliminary estimates from the Irish Farmers Association suggest that farm incomes have fallen by about 22 per cent this year.
The farm group said this represented a loss of more than €500 million in farm income and left average farm incomes at an estimated €18,000.
Family farm incomes increased by 32 per cent last year, according to the Teagasc National Farm Income Survey, but earlier this year the farm advisory body warned that most of that increase could be lost because of the difficult harvest.
IFA president John Bryan said the fall in income was as a result of dreadful weather conditions and increased input costs. “The experience in farming this year once again clearly shows the critical importance of the direct payments in underpinning farm incomes,” he said. “Direct payments will account for more than 90 per cent of farm incomes in 2012.”
Mr Bryan said any cuts to the Common Agricultural Policy budget would have a serious impact on farm incomes and production. “In the negotiations on the overall EU budget in Brussels this week, it is vital that the Cap budget is maintained. This contributes funding of €1.6b annually to farms in every part of Ireland.”
He also urged the Government to maintain funding for farm schemes in next month’s Budget.