It is imperative that the Departments of Finance, Social Protection and Agriculture recognise the problems that exist with regard to farmers and the Fair Deal Scheme and there should be at least a 50% reduction announced for the assets considered under the scheme. In addition the Minister needs to re-open the Glas and Beef Genomics schemes immediately.
I am also calling on the Minister for Agriculture to establish a fund to aid tillage farmers who are in deep trouble because of the bad weather this summer. I have also called for an extension to the deadline for spreading slurry and I am repeating that today.
With regard to the sheep sector, I want the Minister to announce the 25 million Euro fund that I negotiated in the programme for Government talks to aid that sector. With regard to the ‘forgotten farmer”- in the Government formation talks I ensured that they were included, and the budget needs to move to solve this issue as soon as possible.
We also need to give incentives for older people to retire from farming and incentives to bring young people in to agriculture. I would also ask Minister Creed to review the forestry policy which is in the programme for Government that would ensure that multi-nationals and big foreign companies and vulture funds would not get the same grants as the smaller investor. Under TAMS, grants for slatted sheds and for drainage and the cleaning of drains be included.
These are all extremely important issues for farmers and I will be listening very carefully to the Minister on Tuesday to see what measures he has in place for farming and how much that was agreed in the Government formation talks will actually be implemented.