IFA Presidential candidate Francie Gorman says the Government has demonstrated a “blatant disregard” for the future of Ireland’s tillage sector through what he described as a “grossly inadequate” aid package.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity with special responsibility for Horticulture, Pippa Hackett, this evening announced the distribution of €9.53 million under the EU Agricultural Reserve which will deliver a flat rate payment of €28 per hectare or just over €11 per acre.

Mr. Gorman said, “Excluding land rental charges that many tillage farmers must pay, it costs approximately 1300 per hectare or €540 per acre to grow a crop of corn. Many farmers across the country have lost their entire crop this year due to incessant poor weather conditions and under this scheme, they will only be able to recoup a maximum of 28 euro per hectare.”

“The Minister and Government’s ongoing disregard for Irish agriculture is clear. No effort has been made to ascertain the level of losses being sustained by the sector and there appears to have been little if any discussions held with farming organisations on what aid package might be required,” he added.

“The Irish tillage sector contributes more than 1.5bn annually to Irish economic output and generates 11,000 full-time jobs,” explained Mr. Gorman. “We are a country that produces enough food to feed approximately 40 million people every year, yet a once in a generation disaster year for tillage farmers is responded to with an ineffective aid package. The announcement of the details of this aid package is being met with disbelief by the farming community which rightly feels let down yet again by this government.”

He continued, “35-acres of barley belonging to a neighbouring farmer in County Laois has been almost completely lost due to the bad weather, which combined with excessive input costs brought to bear by the war in Ukraine, high land rents and declining CAP payments, is making that farmer’s business unsustainable. It is impossible for farmers, who produce a premium product without getting a premium price in return, to carry this on their own backs. This aid package is a devastating blow to him and other farmers across the country and risks driving them out of business.”