Payments under the €3 million Protein Aid Scheme have commenced, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The scheme was introduced as a coupled support in 2015 as part of the implementation of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) package in Ireland, the department explained.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister Creed said: “I am delighted to confirm that payments are now issuing under the 2017 Protein Aid Scheme.

“Since 2015, the financial aid provided under this scheme has been an important support for farmers growing beans, peas, and lupins.

Not only do these crops provide important environmental benefits, but they also help to provide an indigenous source of protein for animal feed.

The minister outlined that €3 million has been set aside for the Protein Aid Scheme again this year and that payments are now commencing for the approximately 1,200 applicants.

“The rate for this year has been set at €215/ha, and this represents an important support for tillage farmers given the financial pressure experienced in the sector this year,” Minister Creed said.

€2.8 million in 2017 National Reserve payments issued to date

Meanwhile, a total of €2.8 million in 2017 National Reserve payments has been issued to date, according to the latest figures from the department.

Over 750 applications under the 2017 National Reserve are cleared for payment to date, the department added. The department outlined that approximately 1,300 applications were received under the National Reserve in 2017.

In a statement to AgriLand, the department said: “Some 330 of these applications did not meet the eligibility criteria and were unsuccessful or were withdrawn.

“The department is working with individual applicants in relation to processing remaining applications, where outstanding information is required to finally process the application or land details are being finalised.”