IFA Rural Development Chair Michael Biggins has called on Minister McConalogue to ensure that all farmers who applied for the new lining programme are accepted into the scheme in full.
His comments follow Department of Agriculture figures released this week which show huge interest among farmers in the new National Liming Programme, with 4.5m tonnes sought by 41,000 farmers.
“There’s huge focus on farmers regarding the climate challenge. However, what isn’t acknowledged is the significant ambition among farmers to improve on-farm efficiencies and their environmental foot-print. There’s huge demand for the National Liming Programme because farmers want to improve their soil fertility and thereby reduce chemical fertiliser usage,” he said.
Earlier in the year, we had 46,000 applicants for 30,000 ACRES places. Minister McConalogue found a way to get all 46,000 ACRES applicants into the scheme. He now needs to do the same for Tranche 2 of ACRES later in the year, but more immediately for farmers who applied to the National Liming Programme.
“There was only €8m provisionally allocated, but obviously more will be needed to satisfy demand. Limiting support per tonne or eligible volumes will prove counterproductive overall,’ he said.