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We need to work together to represent farmers in marginal areas – Martin Ferris

6 November, 2015 - by Martin Ferris TD

Speaking during the “Sustainable Farming Policy” section of the Farming in Peripheral Areas Conference in Milford, Co Donegal, Sinn Féin Agricultural Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD stated that there is a clear responsibility to work together to ensure the survival of family farms.

The Kerry TD said:

“The key challenge facing the agriculture sector is ensuring the survival of the small family farm, which is the foundation of our rural communities.

“The process of intensification over the past number of years has diminished the number of people farming and has destroyed the livelihood of many in rural communities.

“Intensification has led to an over focus on mass production and the manipulation of the market to the detriment of smaller farmers.

“Further policy measures such as the abolition of the milk quotas, cuts to Farm Assist and REPS and changes to land eligibility threaten the future of small farmers and those farming in marginal areas.

“Sinn Féin has consistently campaigned to protect the future of small farmers – we have proposed the restoration of Farm Assist and campaigned vigorously to end retrospective penalties in particular.

“There is a clear need for elected representatives and policy makers to work together to support farmers in marginal areas and we must accept that responsibility.

“There is also a clear onus on farming bodies to represent all of their membership equally – to work together to support the common good for the benefit of all our people.

“Sinn Féin is up for the challenge and willing to work with all groups across this island in order to meet the needs of small farmers and those in marginal areas.”ENDS

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