‘Tillage farmers are in dire circumstances’

Tillage farmers will be staging a protest outside of the Dail on Wednesday, to highlight the lack of support they have received following last autumn’s weather crisis which had a disastrous impact on the harvest.

John Daly, a tillage and sheep farmer from Kilconnell, Co. Galway is the Galway representative on the IFA’s Grain Committee and speaking to Agriland he said that farmers are going to protest because they haven’t got any support.

Following the weather crisis between August and September, there was no profit there for a lot of farmers, he said.

Daly, who is contractor as well as a tillage and sheep farmer, said there were crops last year that weren’t cut and won’t be cut.

“We’re looking for support from the Government and the Department.

“The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said that there was nothing there in the form of support for us, but the political will is there. There appears to be a stumbling block on the issue in the Department.

“No support came from the tillage forum before Christmas and when we went to Brussels we were told to keep knocking on Kildare Street.”

Daly said that grain farmers have had three years of poor prices. “We don’t cry wolf – we’re able to take the bad years.”

Farmers in the west are going to be held to ransom for the price of barley and straw unless we get support to stay in business.

“We’re being thrown from Billy to Jack at this stage. Now, we’re at the start of another sowing season and there’s nothing being done.

“The dairy men just had to blink their eyes and they got support. Tillage farmers are in dire circumstances. They don’t know where they’re going to get credit this year.”

‘Minister Creed has let us down’

IFA Grain Chairman Liam Dunne told Agriland that grain farmers have had their arguments and discussions with the Minister.

“He’s let us down. He’s not done anything. Farmers in the western corridor need support and they’ve had no straight answer from the Minister.”

Dunne said that tillage farmers have been left hanging by the Department.

The TAMS II scheme for tillage farmers has not been announced yet. Our understanding was that it was ready to roll before Christmas.

“The low-cost loan scheme still isn’t available to farmers – nothing has been delivered.

“So, we’ve gone to Fianna Fail and they’re bringing a Private Members Bill to the Dail. Tillage farmers have gone through several years of poor prices and they need support.”

On Wednesday, January 18, tillage farmers will be staging a protest outside of the Dail at 3pm ahead of a Dail discussion on the tillage sector.