Critical Tillage Situation Raised in the European Parliament
The current dire situation of grain farmers has been raised in the European Parliament by Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament who has asked the Agricultural Committee to look at addressing two crucial issues – firstly the critical situation for grain production in Europe following a very difficult harvest from a price and yield perspective – and more immediately she called for recognition of the severe problems faced by some growers in Ireland where persistent rain has made it impossible to harvest crops, with many now unsalvageable.
“Even where farmers managed to save their grain, many have straw on the ground which cannot be saved due to awful ground conditions,” she said.
“The poor harvesting conditions come on top of poor prices for grain this season and in some cases poor yields, worse than those of 2015.”
Ms McGuinness said she hopes to meet with Commissioner Hogan next week during Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg to appraise him of the situation and to see what action might be taken at EU level. And she has also written to Minister Creed about her concerns. She had raised the issue of the tillage sector with the Commissioner in July and received assurances that the €11 million aid package announced by the Commission could be used for aid to the tillage sector.
“I will be seeking clarification that this fund is available to the grain sector following publication recently of the regulations which appears to restrict aid to the livestock sector,” the MEP said.
“The immediate concern is a cash flow crisis on some farms and a write off of some crops completely because of the difficult weather conditions which will make salvaging crops impossible on some farms.”