EMBATTLED Kerry farmers struggling against continuing atrocious weather conditions are to receive an advance on farm payments to help them cope with a predicted feed shortage later in the year.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine Simon Coveney this week confirmed that he has sought an advance from the EU on Single Farm, AEOS, REPS and other farm payments. It is expected that the advance payments will be made in October of this year. The minister was in Brussels this week for an EU Farm Council meeting.
Farming organisations have highlighted the prolonged adverse conditions and the resultant higher costs to farmers.
The silage harvest, which has been severely hampered by prolonged rain fall is also behind schedule, and farmers are fearful of the financial implications of a winter feed shortage.
Kerry politicians have called on Minister Coveney to put some contingency measures in place.
In the Dail, Deputy Michael Healy-Rae called for a rescue/contingency plan to be put in place to aid farmers.
I highlighted this very important matter with the Taoiseach and the Minister of Agriculture of the nightmare scenario that farmers are facing because of the prolonged rainfall all the summer and the fact that land is water logged. Very little silage is cut and indeed in many instances cattle had to be housed. I am calling on the government to put in place a rescue/compensation package to help farmers feed their animals during the winter," Deputy Healy-Rae said.
Meanwhile Deputy Brendan Griffin welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, that a 50 per cent advance on Single Farm Payments is to be paid to farmers in October.
"The bad weather is not only ruining everyone's summer, it's having a serious impact on farming communities. Farmers are being forced to take their cattle indoors and buy feed, as the weather is severely hampering their ability to make silage. This has serious financial implications," he said.