Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Revealed: Government set for massive underspend in farmer payments

Underspend will result in tough times for farmers - Fianna Fail

Farmer John Sheridan and his son Matthew (with a little help from Benson the dog), move the animals on their farm in Mostrim, Co. Longford. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Farmer John Sheridan and his son Matthew (with a little help from Benson the dog), move the animals on their farm in Mostrim, Co. Longford. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Only half of funding allocated for key farming schemes under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) has been spent so far this year, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

He says farmers will face increased cash flow problems as a result of serious delays in RDP payments. 

New figures released to Deputy McConalogue reveal that only 52% of this year’s budget allocation has been paid out.

However, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said that it is important to note that the bulk of expenditure in respect of BDGP, GLAS and other schemes will take place in December 2016.

Breakdown between total expenditure incurred to date in 2016 and the annual amount of funds originally allocated to schemes under the rural development programme 2014-2020
Breakdown between total expenditure incurred to date in 2016 and the annual amount of funds originally allocated to schemes under the rural development programme 2014-2020

Despite this McConalogue says payments under TAMS and the Beef Genomics Scheme are also seriously behind schedule. 

“These underspends are significant by any metric and will have serious consequences for small family farmers.

“It’s quite unbelievable that only half of this year’s funding for agri-schemes has been paid to farmers. 

“This will result in serious financial hardship for farmers across the country.  It’s particularly worrying that less than 4% of GLAS payments have been made. 

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“The government failed to allocate the level of funding that it originally promised for this scheme, and now it’s failing to pay out.  This is a completely unacceptable situation.

McConalogue says many farmers have had to take out loans to keep their businesses going while they wait for their payments to come through, and these delays will exacerbate an already difficult situation. 

“Farmers should not have to rely on banks and other financial institutions to cover the cost of works, which these agri-schemes cover. This is creating a major cash flow crisis, which is completely preventable.

“This has been a very difficult year for farmers, and these underspends and delayed payments are making a bad situation worse.  I am urging Minister Creed to ensure that these payments are forthcoming this month and that farmers are not left in the lurch”.

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