ICSA president Patrick Kent
ICSA president Patrick Kent has welcomed confirmation by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan that State aid could be provided to deal with the damage caused by the drought and that flexibilities around GLAS rules should be forthcoming.
“ICSA has already called for a hardship fund to help those most affected by the drought, particularly low income cattle and sheep farmers and cereal growers. It is now time for the Minister to take immediate action," he pointed out.
Mr Kent said that Commissioner Hogan had indicated that support to fix drought problems was possible, which included buying fodder. He had confirmed that the purchase of fodder can qualify for aid as either material damage or income loss.
"However, this now requires a commitment from the Government to put some funding in place. This will be a real test of whether the government cares about the incredible hardships faced by farmers this year. ICSA is not looking for an open cheque book. We want aid targeted at the most vulnerable farmers in the less profitable sectors," said Mr Kent.
The ICSA president also welcomed the positive response for flexibilities around schemes and derogations from greening requirements.
For example, it has already been confirmed by the Commission that there will be derogations from the three crop rule and to allow land lying fallow under ecological focus areas to be used for growing feed.
ICSA also wants to see farmers to be allowed wrap bales on LIPP areas in GLAS and to have the deadline for spreading fertiliser extended beyond 15 September.
"We also need flexibility to allow tillage farmers to sow westerwolds or other Italian ryegrasses under GLAS cover crops," he said.