John Coughlan, Munster Chairman of IFA declared his intention to run for President in this year’s national IFA elections.
John, married to Ann and a father of two, is a dairy and beef farmer near Buttevant, in North Cork. He finishes all calves to beef, purchases quality suckler calves to finish and grows cereals. John has been an active member of IFA for 25 years. In this time he has represented North Cork as Livestock Chairman, County Chairman and Environment Chairman. He was elected Munster Regional Chairman in the last IFA election. In seeking his county’s nomination, Coughlan addressed a large and enthusiastic IFA meeting in his county and outlined his priorities as:
- Restoration of Farm Income by returning prices higher than production costs
- Delivering CAP Reform that secures a viable income for family farms
- Ensuring farmers do not carry the burden or costs of climate change measures
- Health and Welfare of the Farm Family will be central to his Presidency
“Irish farming has always delivered for the Irish Exchequer. It was the shining beacon during the recent recession,” Coughlan stated. “As farmers, we now find ourselves in a serious income crisis. Government initiatives like Harvest 2020, Foodwise 2025 and agricultural sustainability must start with farmer income. We are farmers and we have had enough!”
Coughlan declared: “I know this income crisis will not be resolved immediately, because it is a combination of a cheap food policy in Europe, a lack of transparency in processor pricing, a diminishing CAP payment and profit taking by every other link in the food and business chain – EXCEPT the farmer. This must finally change; it will be my mission as President to ensure that it does.”
Coughlan went on to say: “My experience in Brussels has shown me the enormity of the challenges in opening doors to influence policy that delivers for farmers. I have a track record of delivery in Europe. I reduced anti-dumping duties on AN fertiliser by 30% which is worth over €20 million/year to Irish farmers. To do this, I gathered the support of the European farm organizations and EU governments.
The EU is our most important market, that is where our major battles will be in the future.”
Coughlan outlined how the environmental challenges we face will be costly to rectify. “They cannot be borne by farmers,” he said. “Our Government must recognise this and deliver adequate reward that will be meaningful for farmers. Farmers are prepared to look at all options, but they must be financially viable, unlike past fiascos like miscanthus and willow.”
John Coughlan said he would put farm family welfare at the centre of his Presidency as the farm family is carrying the pressure of all the work, regulations, ‘red tape’, income loss and labour shortage.
“Through my knowledge of farming, my understanding of the European institutions and the energy and passion that I bring to this work, I will fight tooth and nail to deliver an income for farmers. And I will lead IFA to become the most credible farmer organization in Europe.”