There has been a call for the future front loading of farm payments in order to make small farm holdings sustainable.
Senator Fidelma Healy Eames made the comments after meeting farmers in Turloughmore, Lackagh, Corrandulla and Annaghdown who outlined the number of family farms that were no longer in operation in their communities.
The Independent General Election candidate said unless the Government starts thinking outside the box, small farm holdings as we know them will disappear. “Many on family farms are just barely hanging on. In the interest of fairness and saving the family farm, preferential payments should be made to farmers on the first 20 hectares with a declining scale thereafter. The Government must recognise that its policy of ‘one size fits all’ does not work in this area.”
Seanator Healy Eames said the further depopulation of rural areas was a bit concern, “Irish people will becoming increasing dependent on imported agricultural food products. The damage to our rural communities will be irreparable. The whole purpose of the Common Agriculture Policy was to ensure low food prices and a guaranteed supply for the consumer. You cannot have either of these if people continue leaving the farming industry.”