Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue TD has said that he is deeply concerned by the challenges affecting coastal tillage farmers, in particular in Cork, Wexford, Galway and Donegal caused by heavier than usual rainfall and decreasing crop prices.

“The last number of months have been incredibly difficult for tillage farmers. Higher than normal rainfall has put the summer harvest at risk, jeopardising their main source of income for the year,”

“The dogs on the street know that tillage incomes are on the floor. Average tillage farm incomes are expected to drop by €14,000 in 2016 to €20,000 this year according to Teagasc. This isn’t sustainable, and the loss of the summer harvest would be disastrous.”

“What farmers are being paid for their crops is substantially less than their costs of production. It’s not a sustainable situation, and without a dramatic increase in cereal prices, this situation is unlikely to be resolved without some form of intervention and emergency aid measure from the Department.”

“Farming organisations have called for a national tillage forum, made up of industry representatives, farmers, and other stakeholders to come together to seek solutions to these problems. Fianna Fáil supports such a proposal.”

“It’s essential that we operationalise affordable low cost EU credit to relive cash flow pressure for tillage, and other farmers. In addition, the tillage TAMS scheme needs to be opened immediately,” added McConalogue.

“Over the next number of months, the Department of Agriculture need to be ready to step in, and support farmers if harvests are further damaged by rainfall. We cannot allow farming families go to the wall because of a bad crop,” concluded McConalogue.