Every farmer who applied to the National Liming Programme will be approved for a certain quantity of lime, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.
There was phenomenal interest from farmers in the scheme, with 41,000 farmers applying for 4.5m tonnes of lime.
“No farmer will not get lime through this exciting new scheme,” the Minister has said in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Claire Kerrane TD.
The Minister said that the farmer interest in the scheme is a clear indication of the importance farmers now place on optimising soil health and improving their environmental sustainability.
“It was a show of real environmental strength by farmers who are keen to take steps to reduce their chemical fertiliser use. This is a move that is good for the environment and good for farmers' pockets,” he said.
The average tonnage applied for under the scheme was just over 111 tonnes.
“To put this in perspective, the total annual tonnage of lime spread nationally in recent years, including on those farms ineligible under the liming programme, has ranged from 0.7m tonnes in 2017 to 1.4m tonnes in 2022,” he said.
He reiterated his point that all farmers that meet the eligibility requirements set down in the terms and conditions for the liming programme 2023 will be accepted into the programme.
However, the approved quantities of ground limestone will have to reflect the programme's €8m budget.
“My officials are currently assessing the number of applicants that meet the eligibility criteria as set down in the terms and conditions for the liming programme. The outcome of these checks will influence the tonnage that will be approved per eligible applicant.
“It is anticipated that approval letters will issue in the coming weeks, indicating the quantity of lime that each eligible applicant can potentially submit for aid,” he added.