More details due today around EU aid package for farmers

Further details of the latest round of EU aid is expected to emerge today, with the Commission due to field questions from Member States about its scope.

Key questions remain about how the €500m package will work across Europe, including whether an EU scheme to reduce production will be limited by Member State participation or whether individual farmers could opt in, regardless of Member State preference.

Only a temporary measure, it would will open in September and would allow farmers reduce their milk production over three months and receive financial compensation of 14c/L per reduced litre to do so.

Details around the eligibility of such a scheme is also unclear and will be crucial, given the €150m budget allocated to it.

It is also expected that details will emerge today around the other €350m of the package, which has been earmarked for adjustment aid and Ireland’s share amounts to €11m. How this can be delivered at Member State level remains to be clarified, but it is understood that targeted measures will have to be introduced to allow the distribution of the monies, instead of another ‘once off’ payment as happened under the previous dairy aid package.

This can be co-funded, but it is understood that it unlikely the Irish Government will sign off on co-funding this package, despite co-funding the previous EU aid package.

This aid package is not just targeted at dairy farmers, but can be used to help all livestock farmers and it remains to be seen how this could be implemented across other sectors.

Reaction to the EU aid package was welcomed by the ICMSA, which said that it has the ability to boost milk prices quickly. It has lobbied for some level of supports to help reduce supply in recent months, in light of falling prices.

IFA said the voluntary production reduction measures must be made available to Irish farmers, if they want to apply.