The second Pig Exceptional Payment Scheme (PEPS2) is now open for applications, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has announced.

A total fund of €13 million is being made available for the voluntary demand-led scheme for pig farmers who commit to meeting certain conditions.

The scheme aims to address the immediate market disturbance by “incentivising a necessary adjustment” and, in the longer-term, supporting food security by assisting these producers to remain viable, the minister said.

In announcing the scheme today (Monday, June 13), Minister McConalogue remarked: “As I have consistently stated, our pig farmers are remarkably resilient, but I am acutely aware of the unprecedented challenges they are facing at present.

Irish pig farmers, alongside others across the EU, are currently facing a combination of low prices and extraordinarily high input costs. This is why I have targeted €13 million of the €15.8 million EU exceptional aid allocation to support the viability of this important sector,” he added.

According to the minister, the scheme “will assist pig farmers to make the necessary adjustment to the new market situation and support them as much as possible through this period of major disruption”.

The scheme is funded from Ireland’s EU allocation for exceptional adjustment aid to producers in agricultural sectors which have been impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as announced by the European Commission on March 23.

Minister of State for new market development Martin Heydon commented: “This scheme is part of a package of measures to support the sector.”

These measures, Minister Heydon said, include the finance instruments co-funded through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI); efforts by Bord Bia to promote quality-assured Irish pigmeat in the domestic and export markets; and ongoing advisory supports from Teagasc.

The PEPS2 is open to commercial pig farmers who have produced more than 200 pigs in the period January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021 inclusive, who are able to meet the eligibility conditions and commit to the conditionality.

The conditionality requires the applicant to fulfill the following measures:

  • Remain in pig farming until April 30, 2023;
  • Reduce breeding pig numbers by 10% in the herd to which payment applies, as compared to the National Pig Census 2021 return for that herd;
  • Provide a self-declaration before December 31, 2022 of this reduction;
  • Maintain that reduction from the date the declaration is received for four subsequent consecutive months (spot verification checks of the declared reduction will be undertaken at any stage during those four months).

Payment to each successful applicant will be based on a graduated payment structure depending on the number of pigs slaughtered, exported or sold in the nominated herd during the reference period.

A maximum pay rate of €100,000 will apply. The closing date for applications is July 11.