Farmers in Ireland have been protesting again recently about low farm incomes and calling for further state support. Yet farmers already receive huge sums in EU and Irish State transfers to support their incomes, amounting to IR2.6 billion per annum. This amount now exceeds the value of farm income, raising the question of where this support has gone, and why are farmers complaining again.
Farm Incomes; Myth and Reality examines current trends in farm incomes policy and shows the value of these transfers to Irish farmers and the Irish economy. It then analyses the distribution of these payments among the farming population, and the relative importance of support to different types and sizes of farms. The pamphlet also compares total farm household incomes (including off-farm income) with the total incomes of non-farm households and examines the impact of social welfare transfers and income taxation on this comparison. It also highlights the extent and sources of ruralpoverty and deprivation.The author concludes that the current system of EU farm support is both inequitable and inefficient. Irish society would be better off with a radical reform of farm incomes policy which would see farmers producing at world market prices with direct support focused on environmental and rural development objectives.