Pat Farrell also spoke about the campaign to eradicate Bovine TB from Ireland this week, holding up the example of Scotland as an instance of what can be achieved as that country has been free of the scourge since 2009 with less prohibitive controls on farms and no blacklisting of farmers, something that has become a very live issue for the IFA and other farming organisations in recent weeks.
“For the Department of Agriculture to say there is no successful eradication programmes anywhere in the world that don’t use herd risk assessments is simply incorrect. Scotland has shown what can be done, and it didn’t involve sending out these type of letters to farmers,” he said.
Similarly, he said that there is no scientific evidence anywhere that indicate that reducing the value of cattle will make them less susceptible to TB nor that identifying risk categories would be the next logical step in the process.
The President of the IFA, Tim Cullinan, led a delegation for an online meeting with the three ministers engaged in the financial planning of the country, Paschal Donoghue, Michael McGrath and Patrick O’Donovan, earlier this week to outline the pre-budget submission prepared by his Association.
“While we fully understand that challenges facing the exchequer arising from Covid-19, the shadow of Brexit is creating massive uncertainty for farmers, government support for our sector was never more important. While a €5 billion contingency fund has been set aside at EU level, our government will have to step up to the plate also,” he said.
In addition to the twin threats mentioned above, Europe is now in the one-year transition before embracing the new Common Agricultural Policy and it is essential that farm schemes are maintained.
“They are a vital part of farm incomes and they also underpin investment in the sector. Investment in farming gives a real return to the rural economy and we believe that farmers and the agricultural sector can play a major part in the economic recovery,” he added.