ICSA chief welcomes Hogan’s comments on drought assistance

‘Commissioner has indicated that support to fix drought problems is possible which includes buying fodder.’

Sligo News File

ICSA president Patrick Kent has welcomed confirmation by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan that state aid could be provided to deal with the damage caused by the drought and that flexibilities around GLAS rules should be forthcoming.

Patrick Kent, president ICSA

He said:

“ICSA has already called for a hardship fund to help those most affected by the drought, particularly low income cattle and sheep farmers and cereal growers. It is now time for the Minister to take immediate action.

“The Commissioner has indicated that support to fix drought problems is possible which includes buying fodder. He has confirmed that the purchase of fodder can qualify for aid as either material damage or income loss.

“However, this now requires a commitment from the Irish government to put some funding in place. This will be a real test of
whether the government cares about the incredible hardships faced by farmers this year. ICSA is not looking for an open cheque book; we want aid targeted at the most vulnerable farmers in the less profitable sectors.

“ICSA also welcomes the positive response for flexibilities around schemes and derogations from greening requirements. For example, it has already been confirmed by the Commission that there will be derogations from the three crop rule and to allow land lying fallow under ecological focus areas to be used for growing feed.

“ICSA also wants to see farmers to be allowed wrap bales on LIPP areas in GLAS and to have the deadline for spreading fertiliser extended beyond 15 September. We also need flexibility to allow
tillage farmers to sow westerwolds or other Italian ryegrasses which means abolishing the 15 December restriction.”