Contractors call for voucher scheme to help farmers clear contracting debt
Contractors have called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to establish a dedicated fund to help farmers pay outstanding debts.
The Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) claims that reduced cashflow and the recent fodder crisis have seriously hit members’ incomes as many farmers have been unable to pay for work carried out over the last year.
FCI has called for the establishment of a Contractor Voucher Scheme, with the Department of Agriculture providing contractors with access to a special Identifier number in order to manage the operation of the fund.
The group also called on financial institutions to adopt an understanding approach to farm-related contractor debt.
Farmers needed to be encouraged to manage their contractor debt in a structured way, FCI insisted.
Despite the weather headaches, anecdotal evidence suggests increased sales of silage harvesting machinery this year. Close to 40 new self-propelled harvesters have been sold, industry sources indicated.
FCI research shows that contractors have invested in excess of €25m this year in new silage-harvesting machinery.
However, a lot of those sales took place before the full extent of the recent weather difficulties emerged.