€100/ha not enough to prevent a ‘disaster’ in tillage

THERE has been a mixed reaction to the announcement last weekend by Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, of the €100 per hectare tillage support scheme.

The news was delivered by the Minister on Saturday at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in Dublin as thousands of acres of tillage ground remain untilled and unsown due to the awful weather conditions.

IFA last week made a detailed submission to Minister McConalogue seeking a payment of €250 per hectare for tillage farmers to try and ‘tide them over’ one of their worst Springs on record.

Francis Gorman, IFA President, said that the Minister, instead of making a ‘rushed announcement’ for an Ard Fheis audience, should have engaged with the tillage sector to address one of the biggest crisis that they had ever faced.

“The reality is that before this announcement, the Government’s 2024 allocation for tillage farmers was nearly €30m down on 2023. This announcement is unlikely to even fill that hole.

“At our meeting on Wednesday, the Minister cited budgetary challenges as a barrier to supporting the sector. “The ball is now in the new Taoiseach’s court to increase the allocation to the Department of Agriculture to allow for a tillage scheme that will make a real difference,” said Francie Gorman.

Some local public representative though have welcomed news of the €100/ha payment as at least a step in the right direction to support a sector facing into a weather and financial disaster in 2024.

Gort Fianna Fáil councillor, Gerry Finnerty, said that already there were reports of some tillage farmers returning seeds and fertilisers to merchants given that April 1 is normally their cut-off date for the planting of corn.

Pictured: Francis Gorman, IFA President

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