The Department of Agriculture is to look at the possibility of a crisis fund for tillage farmers “in greater detail” with farming organisations, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has said.

In the region of 200-300 farmers have been affected and it is understood that a fund of between €4-5m is needed to support those farmers.

The Minister was speaking to Agriland at the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) AGM which took place after the Tillage Forum yesterday evening.

He said that such a fund would have to bear in mind the difficulty of getting “verifiable audit data for who lost what” due to the bad weather last harvest.

“The tillage forum went good. We had a broad ranging discussion on a range of [topics].”

Minister Creed said that he told those at the forum that the TAMS II Tillage Scheme will hopefully be ready in the next couple of weeks.

He said that this will then build on the October Tillage Forum meeting, with the Department having delivered the TAMS II Tillage Scheme and the low-cost loan scheme, which those in the tillage sector can avail of.

At a previous meeting of the forum, the Minister has said that a fresh look is needed at the industry to ensure that it is best positioned to withstand future challenges and to avail of new opportunities which may present themselves.

The Minister has come under pressure from farming groups and opposition bench TDs over the past number of months to provide such a fund for farmers who were hit with severe crop losses last harvest as a result of inclement weather.

The Dail passed a motion a number of weeks ago, by 87 votes to 49, calling on the Minister to provide a crisis fund or compensation scheme farmers that were affected.