By Michelle Devane, PA
The Minister for Agriculture has said he is aware of the financial pressures facing farmers across the country.
Charlie McConalogue also said he is working to ensure a package of support is delivered to farmers in the budget next week.
Mr McConalogue was speaking from the National Ploughing Championship in Co Laois on Tuesday, the first day of the three-day agriculture festival.
He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme there have been increases in prices paid to farmers across most sectors of agriculture this year.
“I’m very much aware of the pressures that they’re under,” Mr McConalogue said.
“Thankfully, we have seen an increased appreciation of the value of food and that farmers need to be paid for the work that they’re doing.”
But the Minister acknowledged that increases have been eroded by cost pressures.
“There has been an increase in actual prices paid across most sectors of agriculture this year, but that has been very much eroded by the cost pressures that are there,” he said.
“And my focus as Minister is to seek to continue to work with farm families now to support them into next year.”
The National Ploughing Championships got under way on Tuesday on a 900-acre site in Ratheniska for the first time since 2019.
It was cancelled for two years due to the pandemic.
More than 300,000 people are expected to attend the event, which features 1,700 trade stands, ploughing championship competitions, machinery displays and livestock exhibits.