Farm Ireland

Saturday 18 November 2017

Tillage building grants and forum meeting 'due shortly' as Minister responds to criticism

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that a meeting of Tillage Forum and a proposed farm investment scheme for the sector are both due shortly.

He said a TAMS Scheme, specifically tailored to the tillage sector, is due to open shortly. The Scheme, he said will support grain growers in achieving further economic efficiencies and details will be made available in the near future.

Minister Creed also plans to convene a further meeting of the stakeholder’s forum shortly to amongst other things evaluate further measures for the long term sustainability of the tillage sector, pending the drawdown of the Agri Cash Flow fund and the resulting utilisation of ‘de minimis’ requirements, including in regions affected by a poor harvest in 2016 due to inclement weather.

In his concluding remarks to the tillage stakeholder forum of last October, the Minister reiterated his view that in the changing international economic landscape we need to take a fresh look at our tillage industry to ensure that it is best positioned to withstand future challenges and to avail of new opportunities which may present themselves.

Fianna Fail has had a private members motion passed in the Dail in favour of the creation of a support fund for up to 300 tillage farmers hit with significant crop losses last year.

Fianna Fail spokesperson on agriculture Charlie McConalogue said the motion was passed with "strong support" and the onus is now on the Minister for Agriculture to call an urgent meeting of the Tillage Forum and discuss what such a scheme could look like.

"Now it is the wish of the Dail that these farmers are supported."

He said that it is imperative a scheme and fund is agreed within the next few weeks, which would provide aid to 250-300 tillage farmers who lost over 25pc of their crops last year.

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"These farmers are mainly located along the western seaboard and some inland counties and a fund in the region of €4.5-5m is needed.

"The Minister for Agriculture does have access to such funds, due to the large carryover of funds in his department from 2016," he said.

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