Tom Parlon in receipt of €30k annual EU Social Welfare

The listing of CAP beneficiaries was released last night on the Dept of Agriculture website at the behest of EU Regulation. Listed among the beneficiaries is our own Tom Parlon for the sum €29,874.59 for the 2008 single farm payment. This payment is made whether or not the beneficiary is involved in farming or not in compensation for the elimination of price supports.

You now know more than Tom.
In his repeated appearences on The Last Word he has never known how much his ministerial pension is.

He gives the impression of a man not concerned with petty things like thousands of euros entering
and leaving his account. He’s a bit of a Bertie don’t you know.

I doubt he’ll even notice this EU money.


Tom Parlon does have a farm though.

Have any of you ever heard of an induction grant paid to young farmers who take over the place? A friend of mine made some reference to it lately and I thought there couldn’t be such a thing. 15k was mentioned.

Its called an ‘Installation Aid’ grant.

That’s the one. Cheers.

There used to be such a scheme, cuts and all that. AFAIK its either going or gone plus the cost of qualifying for it was prohibitive of late.

It’s worth pointing out here that the Parlon family do have a full-time farming enterprise run extremely efficiently by Mrs P.

Social welfare? Hardly.

OMG…Mrs P, Tom P and Kate P??? :laughing:

No relation and no connection :slight_smile:

It’s wrong to call SFP a form of social welfare. Firstly it’s an aid to food production, not a handout. It’s designed to ensure that the people of Europe have cheaper food and the estimated cost to each European adult for a safe, secure food supply is 100E. Agricultural output is worth 6bn in exports to the Irish economy, provides 300,000 jobs and takes in 1.3bn in SFP - and that income in itself has to be good for the country. It has allowed farmers to stay in business producing below the cost of production, working through the Celtic Tiger on the same incomes they would have had 20 years ago. The SFP is also taxable - another difference between it and social welfare.

Every IDA job created in this country costs over 65k - how many of those have left the country once benefits left?

The payment is based on historical reference to 00, 01 and 02 entitlements that farmers had built up on their hectarage (that’s another argument for another day) and that’s the system picked by the EU to stop that budget growing. They divided the amount of money by the amount of land farmed and each hectare became an entitlement.

To continue to draw down the entitlement, that hectare still has to be farmed. It’s illegal for someone else to farm it and you claim the entitlement. Every hectare has to be accounted for on the application form each year and there are satellite maps which show that if you’re 0.3% overclaiming on the hectarage, you’re penalised.

It’s linked totally to 18 cross-compliance measures that have to be complied with - such as soils, nitrates, run off from farmyards, animal welfare, animal identification. You have to have a minimum stocking rate and there are CMMS regulations to comply with.

There is a cross-compliance cost to maintain the standard that we in the EU have decided we want. There is no cheque in the post without filling the application each year (and it comes to your bank account now).

Those cross compliance measures cannot be passed without going out every day to farm. There is a perception that farmers can do nothing and still claim, but with satellites that are now so good they can tell exactly what you’re growing in your field and cross compliance checks this is not a reality.

If the banking system was regulated the way farmers are, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.

So if it’s an efficiently run full time farming enterprise why do they need handouts? That’s 3 times what an unemployed construction worker gets - if he wasn’t a sub contractor. Would it be more correct to call it a “state subsidised, inefficiently run enterprise producing high cost, low quality commodity foodstuffs?” If you’re getting dole you must be actively seeking work, since decoupling the farmer does not have to produce any food, does he have to have a plan in place to show how he is going to wean himself off state aid?

Rather than argue for or against these payments, I find it interesting the ‘historical’ argument being used based on entitlements from previous schemes etc

It seems the defined benefit section of society has a simple strategy when it comes to introducing cost cuts etc, hold on to historical gains and screw new entrants…seems to be common across a range of issues

For those who wish to see the details … search.jsp

I don’t understand. What exactly are there payments meant to achieve?

It’s a business.
To compete with businesses in the same situation they’re going to need to take advantage of all the subsidies they can.
If they don’t and someone else does, they lose their competitive advantage.

Unfortunately the case is, if there’s a subsidy offered you have to take it.
As a business you’d actually be doing over your shareholders not to.

Note: That doesn’t mean I agree with the subsidisation process.

I think everyone can agree that any farmer would be insane not to collect his money but I still don’t see the economic benefit of these subsidies

No, but many people (not saying you) are quick to call social welfare recepients “scroungers”. In my experience many of them would prefer to work but chose to claim welfare as it makes economic sense for their families.

What is the medium term plan for european agriculture? Why can Ireland not move into the niche production of high value added foodstuffs? The EU can only hold back the tide for so long. I was in Brazil recently and one can buy 2 kilos of fillet mignon there for less than 15 euro - beef that has been farmed in the most natural way possible. Can we compete with these guys?

Am I correct in saying that these payments are now not related to production, all that is required is to keep your land in “good farming order” - e.g. cut the grass and the hedges?

My reading of it is , no we cannot compete.Having talked to several farmers, I believe that most of Irish farming is uneconomic. With globalization we have signed up to a system where we expect the developing countries to buy our high end ( high tech goods) and we will agree to but their products which by virtue of economies of scale, in agricultural terms means that they can produce beef at a fraction of the cost… It has been argued that that they do not follow the same stringent, health and safety guidelines as we do, and that is a question for those more knowledgable than I.
But I wonder sometimes, is the battle lost?. Indeed from my reading of it, many farmers I know got through very nicely on being able to sell sites and or developement land. That source of income has now dried up… so what’s next. Is there hope for the future, in Ireland being able to position itself as a high quality food producer in certain niche markets?.. That would require a zealous approach to quality and an absolute comittment to enforcement of standards. Once again not being an expert, but I read somewhere that,since the pork scare, that Irish pork products are now not on sale in China?/. A market like that is too big and valuable to lose… Methinks there is a lot of hard work ahead but on the bright side huge potential.

The reason for the market support is because even those who do farm efficiently are unlikely to make money unless they have the benefit of massive scale or some other mitigating factor outside their control, like a rise in grain price because some other producing country has their crop washed out of it.

We grow good grass, which is why we can export so much beef - it’s a natural, renewable resource that we’d be very foolish not to utilise. Admittedly Brazilian beef is very cheap but I’d question the knowledge of the poster who earlier said it was farmed in the “most natural way possible.” Brazilian beef production has one of the highest rates of use of antibiotic and growth promotors, is farmed by almost destitute gauchos on massive plantations owned by a few wealthy guys who are destroying the rainforests to run cattle on them. I accept that’s a generalisation but there’s considerable evidence there to back it up, not least the EU ban on most Brazilian beef because it cannot be certified to EU standards - of traceability in particular. There are only about 150 individual farms, individually assessed, eligible to export to the EU. Foot and Moutn is endemic there too.

New Zealand lamb is very cheap here but there’s almost no human intervention there. Advice from NZ sheep experts is for Irish farmers to toughen up and toughen up their flocks. They grow good grass too, but allow the ewes to lamb on their own during the season and whatever survives survives and tough luck for whatever doesn’t. Irish farmers pay huge attention to sheep at lambing time and the costs of production are far higher here - and we have a proper winter where grass doesn’t grow all year round. They farm completely naturally but animal welfare activists and health and safety officials would have an apopleptic fit if farmers here were to let animals die in lamb in the field. The NZ belief is that if it dies, it was meant to die. In fact, lambing time is the season when most sheep farmers go on holidays.I hardly saw my husband at all for the 6 weeks, up-all-night intensive lambing season. Even with that in NZ, they got out of four million sheep last year because they can’t make a living. Even having 5,000 ewes won’t make a living there. We’ve 300 ewes but the average flock size here is 110. You’d need 1200 or 1300 to make a living from sheep here. We farm in the hope that hope is around the corner and there are grass management issues and we’ve kept going by being mixed in our farming enterprise.

If Europe wants clean, safe, traceable high quality food to the standards that we’ve set and in the quantities we need for security, it costs money. The average 100 Euro cost to each man and woman in Europe is easily offset by a far higher cost to them in increased import prices without the market supports we now have. Deregulation would lead to deregulating standards - as well as removing interventions.

It’s not perfect but the situation isn’t perfect either - and I don’t see the detractors here or anywhere else coming up with a better solution.