Grant increase for the Irish

GRANT AID for Irish livestock farmers is being increased significantly, to help them meet the costs of providing additional slurry storage and other farmyard improvements under the new Nitrates Action Programme.

In response to concerted industry lobbying, the Dublin government is introducing a new rate of 70% for farmers in the northernmost counties of Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim.

These producers face the longest closed periods for slurry spreading and so need the greatest storage capacity.

The remainder of the country will be eligible for grants of 60%, up from the 40% that currently applies. And young farmers in disadvantaged areas will get a 10% top-up, with 5% available to those in non-disadvantaged areas.

“Increased grant supports will go a long way to helping farmers meet the high cost of compliance,” said Irish Farmers’ Association president John Dillon.

“The top-up for young farmers gives a strong positive signal to those wishing to make their career in commercial agriculture.”

Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association president Pat O’Rourke also welcomed the grant increases, but called for the improved terms to be made retrospective.

“The current investment ceiling of E75,000 (£52,000) is totally inadequate,” he added.

“Given that these investments are mandatory and no financial benefit will accrue, it is our view that it should be abolished.”