Up to 200 farmers are in danger of losing some or all of the their Farm Waste Management Scheme grants due to the collapse of the building construction industry.
Grant payments of substantial amounts approved under the farm schemes are being withheld by the Department of Agriculture over problems in the building construction sector. With many building contractors no longer trading, some of the affected farmers have been unable to provide receipts for the work carried out, while others have been unable to get their work completed to the required standard by the original contractors.
Gerry Gunning, Secretary, IFA Rural Development Committee, said that the amount of money involved was small in the overall payout of the schemes, but that it was a major problem for the farmers who are affected. "We are in negotiations with the Department of Agriculture to see how the matter can be resolved and we are hopeful that a solution can be found," he said.
He said that many of the farmers had received bank bridging loans to carry out the work on the understanding that the grant would be paid.
He added that the loss of any of their entitlement would have serious implications for them financially.