Compensation deal agreed for farmers hit by cold snap

A compensation package was tonight revealed for farmers whose crops were damaged during the cold snap.

Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith said potato and vegetable growers who suffered significant losses because of frost in January could recoup some funds.

The Irish Farmers’ Association has claimed the big freeze destroyed €15m worth of potatoes and other produce.

Growers estimated at least 75% of crops were lost this winter as 6,000 of acres went unharvested after torrential rain in November and temperatures in January plummeting to record lows.

Mr Smith said: “Following a preliminary assessment of the crop losses caused by the very severe frost, I am happy to proceed with a limited scheme aimed at making a contribution to individual growers who, despite good crop management practices, have incurred substantial losses relative to the scale of their farming enterprise.”

Application forms, which will be available from Monday, must be submitted by Tuesday February 16.

Officials said eligibility for assistance will be determined by an analysis on a case by case basis of the information provided by the grower.

In accordance with EU State Aid Rules, aid will also be confined to actual losses and will subject to conditions.

“I encourage those growers, who are directly affected, to complete and submit the crop damage assessment form without delay,” added Mr Smith.

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