A settled policy environment is in store for Irish farmers following reform to the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and imminent decoupling, said Jim Flanagan director of Irelands' Teagasc.
According to the Irish agriculture and food development agency, Irish farmers are largely behind Franz Fischler's reform of Europe's agricultural support system.
A recent Teagasc survey showed that over 90 per cent of the 'more progressive and commercial beef farmers intend to maintain or increase stock numbers following decoupling of payments'.
Eager to keep Ireland competitive the Teagasc is backing research programmes to develop blueprints for 'quality, cost-efficient, sustainable production systems'.
"Teagasc is committed to ensuring that the best technology will continue to be developed to enable our producers to be as competitive as the best internationally," said Flanagan.
For those who might need convincing Flanagan claimed that the organisation's figures show that farmers who have adopted production blueprints through participation in the intensive Teagasc advisory programme are already reaping the rewards.
'For example, beef farmers who are participating in the Teagasc beef advisory programme are currently making double the average national beef income. The top performing beef farmers are making almost three times the national average. This is a direct result of a clear focus on quality production combined with rigid cost control and financial management,' stated the authority.
Jim Flanagan stressed that the pace of technological development in food products will have a major bearing on the success of the Irish agriculture and food industry in the new policy environment.
"Teagasc has acknowledged international expertise in food research. Our two food research centres now have the capacity to assist industry in the development of new products and technologies which will be vital in building an internationally competitive food industry," he said.
After intense negotiations, in June this year agriculture ministers in Europe backed a somewhat diluted version of reforms to €45 billion CAP initially proposed by the EU's Agriculture Commissioner, Franz Fischler.