Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has sought an exceptional aid package from Europe under Ireland's €9.5m crisis reserve fund for the country’s tillage sector, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.
The aid request, submitted on Friday, comes following the calls of tillage farmer representatives for support for the sector due to the severe impact of wet weather conditions.
The exact details of the Minister’s aid package request and the timeline for approval in Brussels is as yet unknown.
Last week, farm organisations including the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), Macra and the Irish Grain Growers Group called for the Minister to seek financial aid from Europe for Ireland’s tillage farmers.
IFA grain chair Kieran McEvoy said that the European Commission had provisionally allocated Ireland with €9.5m of funding from the agricultural reserve.
“These funds are earmarked to support sectors impacted by adverse weather, high input costs and market-related issues. The tillage sector is taking a hit by each measure.
“Anyone involved in the production of tillage or horticultural crops has been particularly affected. Without support, we are going to see a further contraction in tillage area in 2024, similar to what we saw happening in 2023,” he said.
Macra warned that tillage farmers, particularly young tillage farmers, “are in peril” following an extremely difficult harvest.
The young farmer organisation pointed out that reserve funds are in place for a reason and should be activated.
“This week’s weather damage to crops awaiting harvest only strengthens the already valid claims for the activation of the EU exceptional aid measure for the tillage sector.
“Macra backs calls by other farm representatives for the activation of the EU agricultural reserve to provide much-needed exceptional aid for the tillage sector,” the organisation’s president Elaine Houlihan said.