Advisory service ‘failed’ farmers

IRISH FARMERS Association president John Dillon has accused the state advisory service Teagasc of failing farmers.

Mr Dillon said Teagasc had acted as “a Trojan horse for the government” by failing to defend a nitrogen limit of 250kg/ha as the maximum under the proposed nitrates action programme.

The plan currently on the table sets a much lower limit of 170kg/ha as the government belatedly tries to implement the 1991 EU Nitrates Directive.

“Teagasc has failed farmers in not giving [government] clear scientific advice that nitrogen levels of up to 250kg/ha pose no threat to the environment,” Mr Dillon claimed this week.

“The independence of the organisation has been severely compromised,” he said.

His comments came in response to a Teagasc statement last week which accused the IFA of distorting the facts in relation to the Nitrates Directive.

Teagasc had always based its advice on “best scientific information”, said director Jim Flanagan, but was not involved in any decision making on the issue.

The IFA claims a 170kg/ha limit will force many livestock farmers to de-stock to uneconomic levels.

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