The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) is seeking a five-point plan from government to help farmers affected by poor August and September weather.
The plan, submitted to Irish agriculture minister Michael Creed, would include:
- Crisis aid for any farmer who has suffered severe crop damage or loss
- A fodder scheme to provide extra animal feed for those who do not have enough to last the winter
- A lowering of the criteria for farmers eligible for Farm Assist payments
- More flexibility on when farmers are able to spread slurry
- Prompt payment from all payment schemes.
Following the announcement last week that Basic Payment Scheme advances of 70% will be paid from 17 October, IFA president Joe Healey said he would not accept any excuses or delays on any direct payments to farmers.
“The harsh reality on almost all farms this year is that the direct payment is the only net income coming into the family household from farming.” he said
Poor harvesting conditions
Irish MEP and vice-president of the European parliament Mairead McGuinness also raised the issue in Brussels this week.
“The poor harvesting conditions come on top of poor prices for grain this season and in some cases poor yields, worse than those of 2015,” she said.
In particular, Ms McGuinness wanted assurances from EU farm commissioner Phil Hogan that an €11m (£9.5m) aid package already announced for Ireland could be used for the tillage sector.
“I will be seeking clarification that this fund is available to the grain sector following publication recently of the regulations which appears to restrict aid to the livestock sector,” she said.
A stakeholder meeting is due to take place in early October to discuss a course for the Irish grain industry.