The EU aid package finalised last week includes exceptional aid for farmers in dairy and other livestock sectors.
This is a €350m package, under which Ireland has been allocated €11.1m (can be matched by national funding of up to 100%). This package is additional to the €150m milk production reduction package for dairy farmers.
- This package is available to dairy, beef, sheep, and pig farmers. Member states can chose a section of a sector to target the aid.
- Member States cannot make an unconditional payment to farmers as was done last year.
- Member States must come forward with measures to support farmers who engage in one or more of the following activities that aim to foster the sustainable development of their holdings and that contribute to market stabilisation
– Production reduction over and above other scheme, or not increasing production
– Small-scale farming
– Extensive production methods
– Environmental and climate friendly production methods
– Co-operation projects
– Quality schemes or projects aiming at promoting quality and added value
– Training in financial instruments and risk management instruments
- Member States must notify the Commission of their menu of measures by 30th Nov 2016
- Payments to farmers who participate must be made by 30th Sept 2017 at the latest
IFA has urged the Minister to use the funding to reduce the cost of short term finance for farmers in all sectors, or otherwise give an additional fillip to cash flow. This is in addition to our state-aid based proposal for low cost cash flow loans, which is being progressed separately, and could potentially be enhanced by this scheme.