IFA President Joe Healy has welcomed the strong support in the Dail for IFA’s campaign for emergency aid for grain growers seriously affected by weather losses in the 2016 harvest.
The Private Members’ motion on the issue was passed in the Dáil. Joe Healy said, “Following our protest outside the Dáil last week, there is a groundswell of support for those tillage farmers who incurred significant weather losses during last year’s harvest”.
Joe Healy has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to reconvene the National Tillage Forum as a matter of urgency to deal in the first place with the emergency aid issue.
The IFA President said that in his comments at the IFA AGM last week and during the Dáil debate, the Minister recognised the hardship involved and accepted the need for emergency aid, saying “I am anxious to do it in the best possible way, that delivers to those who are most adversely affected” and that he wished to progress the matter through the National Tillage Forum.
As part of IFA’s campaign, which has been running since before the Ploughing Championships, a detailed submission was made by the Association to the Minister on 16 December with results of a crop loss survey. IFA has also requested the Minister to direct Teagasc to conduct its own assessment and verify the IFA’s results in order to clear the way for an early announcement on the emergency aid package.
Joe Healy said the agenda for the Tillage Forum must also address the need to implement an action plan to tackle the serious and deepening income crisis affecting grain growers and the wider tillage sector.
He welcomed Minister Creed’s comments at the IFA AGM and in the Dáil debate concerning the critical importance of the tillage sector to our agricultural economy and the need for initiatives in the marketing and branding of Irish grain in the context of the rapidly expanding Irish brewing and distilling sector and also for the branding of Irish ruminant feed.
Joe Healy also acknowledged confirmation that the low interest agri cash flow loan fund, which includes tillage farmers, will be available later this month and that the TAMs scheme for tillage will be launched in a couple of weeks.