Chairman of the Donegal branch of the Irish Farmers Association says overall they would view the 2017 budget as “fairly positive”.
Michael Chance said a number of measures announced would be important to farmers in Donegal including the reversal of cuts to the Farm Assist scheme as well measures on “income averaging” which he says will be a benefit to local milk, potato and tillage farmers if they have a bad year.
New flexibility under income averaging, to be introduced for the current year, will allow farmers to opt out of averaging in an exceptional year. This will help farmers to manage the very difficult cash flow situation on farms this year, he stated.
“Overall it was fairly positive. We would be very pleased to have got back the cuts to the Farm Assist because Farm Assist is very important in Donegal. The only thing we didn’t get that we would have like to have got was the fair deal nursing home scheme but we will keep working on that,” Mr Chance stated.
Other key agriculture measures in Budget 2017 included the €150m agriculture cashflow support loan fund, at an interest rate of 2.95% to be available to farmers in all sectors.
There is also an increase of €107m in funding of farm schemes under the Rural Development Programme plus a €69m increase for GLAS to €211m for 50,000 farmers.