The Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine has announced that interim Nitrogen and Phosphorus (N&P) Statements for the period January to August 2019 are now available on the Department’s online system www.agfood.ie.
These statements are particularly useful as they allow farmers to plan for the remainder of the year, in order to ensure compliance with the limits of the Nitrates Regulations, thus avoiding penalties for breaching the limit of 170 kgs of Nitrogen per hectare or the 250 kgs of Nitrogen per hectare limit for those who hold an approved derogation.
Farmers are also reminded that all Nitrate Records Forms for 2019 must be submitted to Nitrates Section before 31 December 2019.
Farmers not already registered for agfood.ie can do so by logging onto www.agfood.ie and clicking the 'Register' button. To register a mobile phone number for future SMS text alerts, log on to https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/contactsupdates/ to access the sign-on form.
Future Growth Loan Scheme
Food Wise 2025 identifies competiveness as a key theme and includes a recommendation that stakeholders work to “improve access to finance for agriculture, forestry and seafood producers and agri-food companies”.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD, along with colleagues Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD launched the Future Growth Loan Scheme on 27 March 2019, which will make up to €300 million of long-term strategic investment loans available to eligible Irish businesses, including farmers and the agri-food & seafood sectors.
The loans will be competitively priced, will be for terms of 8-10 years and will support strategic long-term investment in a post-Brexit environment. There is a minimum loan amount of €100,000 for SMEs or €50,000 for primary agriculture. The maximum loan amount is €3,000,000 and loans of under €500,000 can be made on an unsecured basis.
There will be €50million to €60million available initially for farmers, within an overall agri-food package of €120million.
This is a long-awaited source of finance for young and new entrant farmers, especially the cohort who do not have high levels of security. It will also serve smaller-scale farmers, who often do not have the leverage to negotiate for more favourable terms with their banking institution.
Food companies have identified long-term investment finance of up to ten years as a critical need which is currently unavailable in Ireland. The delivery of this product and its effects will be felt all along the food production chain.
The Scheme features a two-stage application process whereby initial application is made through the SBCI website. Successful applicants are issued an eligibility reference number which can then be used in an application to one of the participating finance providers. Approval of loans is subject to the finance providers’ own credit policies and procedures.
The fund is leveraged by exchequer funding of €62 million, of which 40% or some €25million has been provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine.
The Future Growth Loan Scheme is now open for eligibility applications which may be lodged via the SBCI website.