A low-cost finance scheme for farmers needs to be included in Budget 2022 when it is announced today (Tuesday, October 12), according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Rosemary McDonagh, the IFA’s farm business chairperson, said that such a scheme is “a priority”.

“This low-cost finance should be distributed through the main banking and finance providers and made available to all farmers,” McDonagh said.

“Unsecured, low-cost finance that is readily available, is essential for farmers to efficiently fund infrastructural investments on their farms.

She highlighted that increasing regulations and requirements on farmers “bring a significant cost”.

“This cost will not result in direct productivity or any immediate return on investment for individual farmers,” McDonagh added.

“Therefore, it’s vital that this investment can be completed with minimal cost to farmers,” the IFA farm business chair argued.

“Additional nitrates regulations alone are likely to result in a significant additional investment ask for farmers, both in slurry storage and low-emissions slurry spreading [LESS] equipment.”

“Access to unsecured, low-cost finance over a minimum of six years is imperative to allow farmers to fund these investments,” McDonagh concluded.

Among the IFA’s other main demands for Budget 2022 are appropriate funding for Pillar II Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes.

Specifically, it is seeking a €300 total payment per suckler cow, €30 per ewe and €300 million for the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme.

2022 will be the second year of the two-year transition period between the end of the last CAP and the planned beginning of the new one in 2023. It is generally expected that funding for these schemes will be provided today, as it was in last year’s budget.

The IFA is also seeking a tillage scheme to “stop the exodus from the sector”.

On environmental and climate matters, the association wants confirmation of the government’s commitment to use Carbon Tax revenues for a new agri-environment scheme, as well as “accelerated” capital allowances and VAT exemptions on emissions-efficient investments.