Launch of tillage crisis fund imminent

The launch of a tillage crisis fund, worth an estimated €1.5 million, for farmers who lost crops during last year’s harvest due to poor weather conditions, is now imminent, AgriLand understands.

Both the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) have been locked in negotiations over the past few days.

Discussions began one week ago, on Wednesday, July 12, after a delegation from the IFA Grain Committee held a sit-in protest at the headquarters of the department in Dublin.

A source close to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, told AgriLand that the department hopes to make an announcement about the launch of the scheme as soon as possible.

The finer details of the scheme are expected to be revealed in the coming days; just as this year’s harvest gets into full swing.

Prior to the recent negotiations, it was understood that farmers would have to prove a minimum crop loss of 30% to qualify for the scheme, with the number of farmers expected to qualify at below 200.

Protest

The IFA delegation made the reception area of the department building their home on July 5; the protest was entering its seventh night when it was finally agreed to suspend it and begin negotiations.

The demonstration kicked off after reports emerged that the department intended to launch a compensation scheme for tillage farmers with a maximum payment cap of €5,000 per farmer.

The President of the IFA, Joe Healy, and the Chairman of the IFA’s Grain Committee, Liam Dunne, at the protest outside the department building last week. Image source: Finbarr O’Rourke

However, the IFA had insisted that payments would be capped at €15,000 per farmer – the maximum allowed under EU regulations.

The IFA entered into negotiations with Minister Creed and the department with “no pre-conditions” on the table. No confirmation, from either side, has been given regarding what the maximum payment will be under the upcoming scheme.