Top-up of €1,000 to issue from today to young farmers in dairy

Young farmers in the dairy sector are to receive a €1,000 top-up aid payment from today as part of last September’s EU aid package, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said.

Almost 1,500 young farmers who were successful applicants under the Department of Agriculture’s Young Farmer Scheme will receive the monies.

These payments are the final tranche under the package agreed at EU level in September of last year which allocated €13.7m for Ireland. The Government subsequently matched this funding to provide an overall aid package of €27.4m

Minister Creed said that working to improve farm incomes is his key priority as Minister.

“I am very aware that both the Irish dairy and pig sectors are under pressure at present as a result of current market difficulties.”

For this reason the Irish Government sought a number of measures to be taken at EU level to help to stabilise the market and provide some cash flow assistance to hard pressed farmers.

“The allocation of a direct aid package co-funded by the European Commission is one such measure and I am very pleased that we are in a position to match these EU funds with National funding.”

Minister Creed said that this top-up complements the payments to over 17,600 farmers in December.

Meanwhile, in the pig sector, there are almost 300 approved applications for aid, and payments of €3,300 to each participant have commenced this week, he said.

“The current market difficulties are more prolonged than anybody envisaged and it’s important that any measures taken are meaningful for producers in difficulty.

“I will work with Commissioner Hogan, who I am meeting this week, and other EU Ministers for Agriculture to ensure that the EU response is appropriate and can deliver the required response to help producers through these difficulties.

“Today’s payments mark Ireland out as one of the few EU member states to have drawn down their allocation to date and together with the Government’s top-up will provide some practical assistance to farmers.”