A useful booklet for farmers outlining the range of supports and services available to farmers has been jointly published by Citizens Information Board and Teagasc.
The Teagasc National Farm Survey showed that average family farm income was €31,300 in 2017.
This year has been a much more difficult year for farmers due to the weather related difficulties experienced by all farm systems.
Subsidies account for almost 75% of family farm incomes.
Despite the recovery in the Irish economy and labour market over half of farm households had an off-farm income indicating that farm income alone is not sufficient.
Some 7,234 people are getting Farm Assist and of these 66% are aged 50 or over.
A copy of the publication ‘Supports for farmers’ was presented to Damien O Reilly, RTÉ Countrywide radio programme.
Speaking on the Teagac stand at the National Ploughing Championships, he said: “Farming can be a challenge and the recent fallout from low commodity prices and extreme weather events have taken their toll.
“A publication like this, therefore, can be an invaluable resource for farm families to outline the supports available such as direct payments, Farm Assist and the Rural Social Scheme.
“I would urge you to use the information and supports outlined.”
Many of them are available through the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and there is further information available on the Citizens Information website www.citizensinformation.ie.
This publication will be a valuable reference for farmers and those dealing with farmers on a day-to-day basis such as agricultural advisors, vets, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officials, banks, suppliers, accountants and solicitors.
The objective of this publication is to provide up-to-date information to help improve the situation of farmers in rural Ireland. (Continues below photo.)
On the Teagasc stand at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore at the launch of the Citizens Information/Teagasc booklet on ‘Supports for Farmers’ were Barry Caslin, Teagasc, Damien O’Reilly, RTÉ, Cathy Gerrard, CIB, Grainne Griffin, CIB, and Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc director. Photo: O’Gorman Photography
Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc director, said: “Teagasc are pleased to partner with the Citizens Information Board, who provide information on public services and entitlements through their network of Citizens Information Services.
“Working together represents the best approach for the future.
“Teagasc are aware of the problems, and we are working hard trying to support families who are under extreme pressure and struggling to cope.
“Access to good quality and trustworthy information can make all the difference when making decisions and considering options.
“This publication brings together practical information on a broad range of supports and presents them in a direct accessible manner.”
Grainne Griffin, senior manager, CIB, with responsibility for Citizens Information, said: “We are delighted to partner with Teagasc on this publication.
“We are acutely aware of the difficulties that farmers are experiencing.
“Many of our network offices are located in the heart of rural communities.
“Just some of these challenges include drought, farm income and rural isolation.
“Also, in 30% of farms the farmer is over 65.
“Not only have business and household bank balances been hit but these events have also put a huge strain on relationships as well as people’s physical and mental health.
“Providing relevant and comprehensive information on core farming matters and health and well-being has never been more important.”
The booklet directs farmers to all the support services that are available. These include professional counselling, financial advice, and farm management expertise through Teagasc.
The publication is available here at the NPC Teagasc marquee and at the Citizens Information stand at Block No: 3, Row No: 14, Stand No: 297 and will be widely available through the network of Citizens Information Centres nationwide.
The publication can be downloaded at Citizensinformationboard.ie.