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.