IFA President John Bryan has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to secure a 70% advance on the Single Farm Payment from October 16th this year, in response to the deteriorating weather and the income difficulties on farms. “The situation is worsening every day the bad weather continues, and the losses incurred in recent weeks cannot be retrieved at this stage.”
MR Bryan said the Farm Council meeting in Brussels this week will present Minister Coveney with the opportunity to get agreement from Commissioner Ciolos on this critically-important issue for Irish farmers.
“An advance payment of 70% would help ease cashflow problems on farms, which have arisen because of significantly higher costs and lower prices,” he said.
However the Minister has said the will be seeking a 50% advance on the payment, something the IFA does not believe will be sufficient.
The IFA President said a 70% advance payment was agreed in 2009 when incomes were badly hit by poor prices. Mr Bryan said bills are building up on farms because of the higher costs arising from the prolonged spell of wet weather.
He said, “While some harvesting has been done, ground conditions have prevented many farmers from getting their silage in. Milk production and prices are back and the factories are using the bad weather to pull cattle prices.”
“The mart trade has also been impacted, mainly because of a lack of grass supply. Farmers have been forced to take cattle indoors, particularly bulls, and the cost of feeding has increased fivefold. Crop development is a critical stage for the main crops of winter wheat and spring barley. Grain farmers expect yields to drop, and unless we see a dramatic improvement in the coming weeks, the impact could be greater.”
Fine Gael Senator, Michael Comiskey has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney TD that he intends to seek the approval for the advanced payment of 50% of the Single Payment in October.
“There are real benefits to local communities also in seeking an advance on the single payment. This year’s payment is expected to be €1.3 million, and if the application is successful 50% would become payable on 16th October, ensuring a secure income and a means of meeting credit deadlines to farming families,” he told the Leitrim Observer.
“I believe Ireland has a strong case to present for the early release of funds. I will be supporting the Minister’s efforts in seeking the advance to aid the farming community during these difficult farming conditions.”