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Irish Examiner - Farming - - FRONT PAGE - Stephen Cado­gan

Up to €10,500 per farm to­wards the cost of spring ce­real losses is of­fered in the tar­geted sup­port mea­sure to as­sist grow­ers most af­fected by bad weather last Septem­ber. Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Michael Creed opened the mea­sure for ap­pli­ca­tion yes­ter­day, fol­low­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with IFA. Protest­ing mem­bers of the IFA Grain Com­mit­tee had oc­cu­pied the Depart­ment’s main of­fice in Dublin for six days and nights, un­til the July 11 com­mit­ment by Min­is­ter Creed to en­ter into ne­go­ti­a­tions about the pro­posed crop loss scheme, with­out pre­con­di­tions.

“The key now is to get the scheme up and run­ning” said IFA Pres­i­dent Joe Healy.

IFA Grain Com­mit­tee Chair­man Liam Dunne said the scheme an­nounced yes­ter­day is sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than what was on the table orig­i­nally.

“There has been a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the max­i­mum limit an in­di­vid­ual farmer can re­ceive from the scheme, this has been raised from €5,000 to over €10,000,” he said. “There will also be an ap­peals sys­tem.”

Farm­ers have un­til Fri­day, Au­gust 25, to make ap­pli­ca­tions to the scheme (see www.agri­cul­ture.gov.ie/farm­er­schemes­pay­ments).

Min­is­ter Creed con­firmed it is con­fined to grow­ers who ex­pe­ri­enced greater than 30% loss in grain ton­nage. He said: “I have al­ways stated that there was a will to sup­port these farm­ers, the chal­lenge was to find a way that en­sured sup­port was fo­cused and tar­geted at those most im­pacted whilst also en­sur­ing pru­dent ex­pen­di­ture of pub­lic fi­nances.

“I am sat­is­fied that the mea­sure of a €1.5 mil­lion max­i­mum scheme ad­dresses both of these re­quire­ments.

“This new sup­port mea­sure, to­gether with the Agri­cul­ture Cash­flow Sup­port Loan Scheme I in­tro­duced last au­tumn and also the cur­rent tillage in­vest­ment scheme un­der TAMS II will, when taken to­gether, pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant sup­port for this es­sen­tial sec­tor and un­der­lines my on-go­ing sup­port to se­cur­ing its fu­ture.”

The scheme fol­lows a lengthy IFA cam­paign, which se­cured the sup­port of the Joint Oireach­tas Com­mit­tee on Agri­cul­ture last De­cem­ber, and a Jan­uary Dail vote in favour of a scheme, which co­in­cided with an­other protest by grain farm­ers.

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