IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins has acknowledged the increase in the budget allocation for the National Liming Programme and commitments made from Government that the budget will be reviewed again if needed.
The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue announced at the Tullamore Show & FBD National Livestock Show that the budget ould double to €16m, with eligible farmers paid for up to 40 tonnes of lime, at a rate of €16/tonne.
“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,” he said.
Over 41,000 farmers applied for the National Liming Programme because they want to improve their soil fertility and thereby reduce chemical fertiliser usage.
“The announcement yesterday is certainly an important first step. The Minister must now ensure all valid applications for the liming programme are accommodated, with full payment made on strength of purchase receipts received,” he said.
“IFA has pressed for the need for increased funding for the National Liming Programme for some time. It was one of our pre-Budget priorities when we met the Department in recent weeks. Future funding should reflect the enormous interest in the scheme,” he said.