Tillage farmers must benefit from EU exceptional aid package – IFA Treasurer

Tillage farmers must be made eligible for the EU Exceptional Adjustment aid scheme, according to IFA Treasurer Jer Bergin.

“And we have made this point in the strongest possible terms to Minister Creed,” he said.

“The scheme, as currently proposed, references livestock farmers only. But cereal growers are under very significant financial pressure at the present time. And this reality must be fully recognised by the Minister.”

Bergin added that the needs of all sectors – including tillage – must be recognised, courtesy of the aid scheme, not just dairy farmers.

“We have also asked Minister Creed to green light the national top-up, which is provided for within the Brussels’ package. He told us that the matter is under active consideration. But, in reality, it’s a decision that needs to be taken in the very near future in order to boost farmer morale.”

Bergin foresees the exceptional aid money being made available in the form of cheaper finance options for producers operating across the various sectors.

“This will mirror the super-levy cheap finance package that was made available two years ago. Simply dividing the money up and distributing it as a direct support payment to farmers is not an option in these circumstances.”

Turning to Brexit, the IFA Treasurer said that Irish farming is already feeling the direct impact of the UK’s decision to exit the European Union.

“We have told the government that Irish agriculture must not be allowed to suffer as a result of the Brexit decision,” he said

“The devaluation of Sterling that followed the June vote has already boosted cattle prices in the UK to the detriment of the livestock industry here in Ireland.

“This is clear evidence that Brexit is already a reality for the farming industry in Ireland. And this fundamental fact must be fully recognised by the Irish Government.”