Additional funding for tillage sector a much needed first step – MEP Maria Walsh

Additional funding for the tillage sector of €100/ha is a much needed first step to support tillage farmers through a difficult period, MEP Maria Walsh has said.

With almost 10,000 farms across Ireland growing crops, the tillage sector is a vital part of Irish agriculture.

Maria Walsh, MEP for Midlands-North West said: 

“I welcome confirmation from Government that additional support will be provided to the tillage sector. In the midst of the current weather challenges on farms, it is clear that tillage farms are amongst the worst impacted as they struggle to complete spring plantings.

“Fine Gael representatives have been clear that nothing is off the table when it comes to supporting farmers through this period. Confirmation of €100/ha for those who plant crops is a much needed first step but we must continue to engage with the sector on what more can be done.”

MEP Walsh emphasised that in meeting with farmers across Midlands-North West, significant fears were expressed about confidence in the sector as farmer morale was taking a hammering.

In light of difficult weather conditions last year, additional support was provided by Government to the sector through top-ups to the straw incorporation measure and the protein aid scheme, the continuation of the tillage incentive scheme, and the introduction of emergency funding in the form of a one-off payment and an unharvested crop scheme.

Fine Gael Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon said:

 “Tillage farms are the starting point for a €1.3bn contribution to the Irish economy every year. It is an incredibly sustainable sector as the lowest emitter of greenhouse gases per hectare and one that Irish agriculture could not function without.

“It is our ambition to grow the sector, however, we must first stabilise the loss of area before we can look to grow it. In the days ahead, I will be working to ensure any additional supports we introduce are practical and easy for farmers to access.” Minister Heydon concluded.