‘The ringfencing of €10 million for the tillage sector is a positive move’

Last week’s announcement in the budget that €10 million will be dedicated to pilot agri-environmental schemes for the tillage sector has been welcomed by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

In a statement today (October 19) the IFA’s Grain Committee chairperson Mark Browne welcomed the announcement by Minister McConalogue which included funding for several pilot measures in the agri-environment area.

The ringfencing of €10 million for the tillage sector is a positive move.

“While exact details of the measures involved in the pilot scheme are not finalised, it will be important that proposed actions are practical and pragmatic, to ensure full uptake of the scheme,” he stated.

Concerning participants in the existing GLAS [Green, Low-carbon, Agri-environment Scheme], these tillage farmers should be able to avail of the new pilot scheme.

The Co. Wexford tillage farmer also acknowledged the minister’s reference to the pressures on the tillage sector.

He noted that tillage farmers have endured “a torrid season and were now facing consecutive years of income decline”. This is combined with other challenges such as the new Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), third-country grain imports and the loss of plant protection products.

The Grain Committee chairperson stated that he looked forward to a meeting with the minister to discuss these, and other issues, facing the sector.

Dedicated budget for tillage

€10 million of the €79 million in new funding for pilot measures in the agri-environment area will go towards the tillage sector, according to Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

In a statement, Minister McConalogue outlined how he was conscious of the pressures faced by tillage farmers at present.

I am extremely conscious of the pressures on the tillage sector this year, and will be ringfencing some €10 million of this sum specifically for that sector.

A total of €79 million has been set aside for the development of a pilot scheme to encourage environmental action from farmers who are not currently in the GLAS.

He stated: “I expect these pilot actions to inform the development of a major new environmental scheme for agriculture following on from the GLAS scheme.”

A proportion of the €79 million in funding will also contribute to the development of new initiatives on farm safety.