‘Approximately 2,000 farmers affected by the tillage crisis’

Approximately 2,000 farmers have been affected by this year’s unfolding tillage crisis, according to IFA Grain Chairman Liam Dunne.

“The affected growers are in an area west of the line between Cork City and Derry.

“A number of growers in South Wexford have also been badly hampered by this year’s atrocious harvest conditions,” he said.

Dunne is calling on growers in crisis to contact their local Teagasc offices, so as to have the scale of their problems independently validated.

“And this must be done as quickly as possible,” he stressed.

“The IFA is calling for an emergency aid package to be made available for the tillage sector.

And we don’t care where the money comes from. Brussels drives overall policy within the tillage sector while Dublin is responsible for the development of the industry at a national level.

“The reality is that a significant number of Irish grain growers are facing financial hardship, because of this year’s crop losses. And this reality must be recognised on the ground in this country.”

In expectation of an aid package being made available the IFA is highlighting the needs for cereal growers to have their losses independently verified.

“This is why it is so important for affected growers to contact Teagasc immediately,” he said.

The IFA chairman expects the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to raise the tillage crisis officially at next Monday’s Council of Agriculture Ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

“We have also been working behind the scenes with farming organisations in the UK, France, Belguim and Germany, regions that were badly affected by the weather this past summer, specifically from a tillage perspective.

As a consequence, Ireland is not alone when it comes to seeking  a tillage aid scheme in Brussels over the coming days.

The IFA estimates that the actual value of this year’s tillage harvest in Ireland is back by approximately €50m.

“The level of aid required will be somewhat less than this figure. We will arrive at a final estimate over the coming days.

“But our key message to government  is a very simple one: large numbers of Irish tillage farmers are now in financial crisis as a result of this year’s disastrous harvest,” he said.