Data received by the Irish Farmers Journal from the Department of Agriculture shows that just 14,500 farmers submitted payment claims under the National Liming Programme by the deadline of 7 November 2023. This represents a submission rate of only 35%, from the figure of almost 41,000 farmers which received approval.
The Department reports that based on the claims submitted the maximum tonnage of lime eligible for aid (maximum of 40t per applicant) is over 529,000t. At a payment rate of €16/t, the maximum funding which can be drawn down is less than €8.5m of the €16m allocated.
The initial budget for the programme was €8m, but following a massive uptake with 41,000 farmers applying for grant aid on 4.5m tonnes of lime, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue secured an additional €8m in funds. The programme was hampered by weather curtailing lime applications and flexibilities were secured by the minister, allowing lime to be purchased and payment claims to be submitted by 7 November 2023 and purchased lime to be applied up until 31 March 2024.