The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has requested that a full impact assessment into the EU’s proposed nature restoration law be carried out by Government.

The proposed law and its implications for farmers were among the main topics discussed between farm organisations and An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Tuesday.

IFA deputy president Brian Rushe said: “The Government must oppose the proposal and ensure a full impact assessment is done before any law is put in place.”

The IFA also raised the issue of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve and queried the Taoiseach why this cannot be used to assist vulnerable sectors such as beef, sheep, tillage and horticulture.

He added that the IFA made it clear to the Taoiseach “that the Department of Agriculture’s plan to delay certain payments by up to a month in 2023 would be totally unacceptable”.

ICSA meeting

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) president Dermot Kelleher spoke about the new agri-food regulator at the meeting.

“If the ambition is to drive fair play for farmers in the food chain, then the legislation must be robust enough to deliver that. We think the draft regulation is too weak,” he said.

Kelleher also spoke regarding the sheep sector. He said: “The €12/ewe in the CAP is not fit for purpose - sheep prices earlier this year and last autumn were worse than previous years, despite costs going through the roof.”

With only one third of suckler farmers signing up for SCEP, the ICSA president said: “We want to see Budget 2024 deliver a suckler scheme that would be open to all, with no quota restrictions, no limits on the number of cows and no five-year contracts.”