Aid payments of up to €100,000 per farmer have commenced for those in the pig sector.
The payments, part of the €13m Pig Exceptional Payment Scheme 2 (PEPS2), are being issued from Monday, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.
They follow the original Pig Exceptional Payment Scheme, which saw €7m in aid funding provided to pig farmers in March.
PEPS2 closed for applications on 11 July. The scheme was opened on 13 June to provide support for pig farmers affected by a prolonged cost-price squeeze, exacerbated by the impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The scheme to support pig farmers is funded by Ireland’s allocation of European Union (EU) funds for exceptional aid.
It is the second support package Minister McConalogue has put in place this year to support pig farmers.
To receive the payments, applicants must agree to remain in pig farming until 30 April 2023. However, they must reduce breeding pig numbers by 10% in the herd to which payment applies as compared with the National Pig Census 2021 return for that herd.
Ultimately, PEPS2 is aimed at incentivising what the Department of Agriculture has described as a “necessary adjustment” for the Irish pig sector.
It will also support longer-term food security by assisting pig producers to remain viable, the Department stated.
Announcing the commencement of payments, Minister McConalogue said: “Our pig farmers have faced unprecedented challenges over recent times due to a significant market downturn in combination with surging input costs.
“The targeting of this significant support will assist in the continued viability of this very important sector.
"I want to see the pig sector continue to develop in the time ahead and I am glad to see a recent improvement in market conditions.”
Chair of the pig roundtable - the group set up to address the challenges facing pig farmers - Minister of State Martin Heydon said: “These payments under PEPS2 are an important support for pig farmers as we navigate our way through a challenging period for the sector.
“In addition to helping co-ordinate this emergency response, the pig roundtable continues to work on the future development of the sector and will be meeting again in the coming weeks.”
Further details of the scheme are available here.