Mayo MEP highlights key issues affecting small and medium farm holders

Midlands-North-West MEP Maria Walsh has told Minister Charlie McConalogue and the Department of Agriculture that “for too long the small and medium farm holders, particularly those farming in the west and North West, have had to go to great lengths to have their voices heard, it is critical that you speak to all farmers, not just the larger enterprises."

MEP Walsh spoke out on a number of key issues facing the farmers, in Maam Cross and Balla Marts where the Minister was visiting as part of his CAP consultation tour.

“Small and medium farm holders in my constituency need tangible supports for farm diversification, the Midlands-North-West needs fit-for-purpose digital infrastructure and broadband if marts and agri-businesses are to expand their business models, no longer can 77% of women farmers be denied access to the Single Farm Payment.

"It is incumbent on the minister and his officials to address the needs of my constituents and to listen to all voices in our farming community, especially the voices of women farmers which are pushed aside all too often.

"The Minister must meet with the Women in Agriculture Stakeholders Group and his officials must consider measures to meet the needs of my constituents before Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan is submitted for the New Year,” MEP Walsh said.

MEP Walsh also highlighted the mental health issues facing farming communities.

“We all know that rural isolation and mental health is a big issue for our farming community, the great work of John Keane, president of Macra na Feirme, and the Make the Moove rural mental health initiative has brought that out into the open and helped many farmers and rural dwellers.

"I would like to see the Minister ring-fence funding to expand Make the Moove to support our farming sector and their mental health.

“I look forward to voting on the CAP proposals this November in the European Parliament, I will be closely monitoring developments on Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan and promoting the needs of my Midlands-North-West constituents within it,” MEP Walsh added.