Farmers whose crops were decimated by the winter floods last year are to receive state-funded support as part of a new scheme announced by Minister of Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue. Funding of EUR400 per hectare will be available to impacted tillage farmers located in the South Slob and Inis Slob areas of Co. Wexford who were forced to replant winter crops that were irrevocably damaged as a consequence of flooding caused by the exceptional level of rainfall.
Announcing the Scheme, Minister McConalogue stated, “Having been made aware of the significant damage caused by the unprecedented weather events experienced last Christmas in Wexford, I have worked closely with my parliamentary colleagues in Wexford to deliver a scheme of financial support which will provide direct financial assistance to those most affected by the floods. The funding will offset the costs incurred by those farmers in re-establishing spring crops that are vital in light of current global events”.
The Minister said, “This scheme, in tandem with the Straw Incorporation Scheme, the Protein Aid Scheme and the EUR12m Tillage Incentive Scheme, are very strong supports for growers in this very important sector in reducing our dependence on imported feed and in delivering necessary feedstock in light of the Ukraine crises”.
The payment will be made solely on the area of flood affected crop that required replanting in spring 2022. Ground inspections supported by satellite imagery will be used to support the efficient administration of the scheme and to ensure prompt payments to affected growers. A minimum area of 2 hectares and maximum area of 20 hectares will apply under the Scheme.
Irish Farmers Association (IFA) Wexford County Chair Jer O’Mahony welcomed the announcement, saying, “This funding is badly needed and long overdue. Some farmers in Wexford were very badly impacted and this will help, to some extent, in alleviating the losses they incurred from the Christmas flooding. The allocation of funds to deal with the flooding follows intense lobbying by IFA Wexford over the past number of months.
“The Minister must move quickly to ensure that the funding is paid to farmers promptly, particularly given the cash flow pressure due to spiralling input costs,” he concluded.
However, local councillor Jim Codd said this funding merely masked a situation which many in the area feared would be repeated again in the coming years.
“Unless real, substantial drainage work is undertaken in this area we will find ourselves in this position again,” said Cllr Codd. “As of now, six months after the floods, the OPW has not appeared at any council meeting in this county. This has been the greatest fall of rain in living memory and scientists tell us we should expect more. We in Wexford County Council (WCC) remain in the dark as to what plans are in place to counteract these deluges, this area will be one of the most affected by climate change and we need to plan how we’re going to prepare for that.”