The reduction in farm incomes in 2018 is a reflection of what was a very difficult year for farmers, initially due to very wet weather for the first four months of the year followed by drought conditions both of which curtailed output but probably most significantly led to substantial increases in farm inputs particularly feed and fertiliser costs.
The reality for many farmers is that a large portion of these bills remain outstanding and will have to be paid during 2019. 2018 has yet again shown the volatile nature of farm incomes and this is an issue that the Government will simply have to address as part of Budget 2020 in terms of an income volatility measures such as the Farm Management Deposit Scheme as proposed by ICMSA. It is extremely difficult for farm families to plan their business with this level of volatility and the taxation system needs to reflect the volatile nature of farm incomes.
With CAP negotiations likely to step up a gear following the EU Parliament elections, the survey also shows the huge importance of direct payments to all sectors of farming and the priority must be to at least maintain our current allocation, concluded Mr. McCormack.