The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been allocated €1.3 billion in Budget 2016.
The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney said this week that he had delivered on additional funding for the sector for the second consecutive year and this would enable him to continue with targeted investment in the Rural Development and Seafood Development programmes.
“The Exchequer contribution to the expenditure of my Department will amount to €1,351m in 2016; €1,134m in current expenditure and €217m capital expenditure.
“In this budget I wanted to set out clear priorities in order to maximise the contribution of the agri-food, marine and forestry to the national economy.
“This represents an overall increase of €109m over this  year’s figures and, in line with the commitment I made last year, is the second of a series of budgets which will see the Expenditure of my Department increase to take account of key priorities including the Rural Development Programme and the Seafood Development Programme,” he said.
Here’s where the Department will be spending the money in the agriculture sector:
Overall, for 2016 €494m for investment in the Rural Development Programme – up from €439m in 2015 – an increase of over 12.5%.
The Minister said that the RDP will see an investment of €4 billion in the Irish agriculture sector over the years 2014-2020.
“RDP schemes provide vital investment capital in the rural economy, prioritise agri-environmental protection and support the incomes of family farms.
“My overarching priority for 2016 continues to be to deliver on this Government’s commitments to the farming and fishing sectors,” he said.
€203m will be made available for agri-environmental schemes including AEOS and GLAS.
Over 35,000 farmers will benefit under the new GLAS scheme which builds on the success of the earlier agri-environment schemes and encourages farmers to operate in an environmentally sustainable manner.
“This scheme, when fully open, will support up to 50,000 farmers and require funding of €250m per annum in future years delivering on our commitment to the sustainable intensification of production and making a vital contribution to the rural economy,” the Minister said.
Announcing the allocation of €195m to ANC the Minister emphasised his continuing strong support for farmers in disadvantaged areas.
“These payments represent a significant financial boost for both individual farmers and for the wider rural economy,” he said.
This €35.8m allocation will provide funding for the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme which will be at the higher grant rate of 60%.
Also benefitting from the scheme will be dairy equipment, Organic Capital Investments, pig and poultry and sheep fencing.
It will also provide funding for the recently opened Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme and the Low Emission Slurry Spreading Scheme (LESS).
Minister Coveney said the funding of these very important schemes will encourage the sustainable development of Irish agriculture by providing a range of new investment opportunities to Irish farmers.
Minister Coveney said that €52m in funding for 2016 will be provided for this innovative scheme that places Ireland firmly to the forefront in beef genetics globally and enhances our reputation as a world leader in sustainable food production.
“Increasing the carbon efficiency of the sector will help to reinforce the uniqueness of our offering on EU and world markets.
“I am also providing an increased provision for the beef sector through the Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Programme (€6m).
“The beef sector is also supported through stimulus funding for research and capital investment funding for the processing sector, through the marketing and processing fund (€4.6m). My Department will also provide funding to the beef sector via ICBF to the tune of €2.2m.
“In addition to my Department’s expenditure, in 2016 Ireland will also receive some €1.2 billion in direct funding from the EU for the Basic Payment Scheme.
“I am pleased to be able to announce that enhanced payments of 70% under the direct payments scheme will begin to issue to farmers next week.
“This will be of significant benefit in terms of addressing current issues around market volatility and assist in easing cash flow for farmers,” he said.