Farm news: Putting straw into the soil and the Mercosur deal

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Donegal TD, Charlie McConalogue T.D. has today announced the opening of the new Straw Incorporation Measure known as (SIM).

The scheme has been introduced to support Irish tillage farmers who decide to chop and incorporate the straw into the soil after harvest.
A total fund of €10 million is available for 2021 on a pilot basis.

SIM is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development as part of Ireland’s Rural Development Plan.

Announcing the opening of SIM, Minister McConalogue described it as an important initiative firstly for tillage farmers, but also for the environment. He predicted it will help farmers who want to increase their soil organic carbon levels by means of straw

Applications can be made from today (March 22) via the BPS online application form, available at The closing date for applications is Monday 17 May.

Minster McConalogue concluded that SIM can make an important contribution to the long term sustainability of the tillage sector.

Elsewhere today IFA President Tim Cullinan said it was astonishing that the EU Commission would attempt to proceed with a Mercosur deal without a full assessment of the deal.

He was reacting to a decision announced by the EU Ombudsman on the EU Commission’s approach to the trade deal.

The Ombudsman says it is concluding a trade agreement before its potential impact has been fully assessed risks undermining those values and the public’s ability to debate the merits of the deal.

The IFA President said there was an onus on the Commission to publish the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) without delay.

The IFA President said the approach of the Commission undermines its credibility to act on behalf of Member States, adding that “the Commission’s stance on Mercosur is at odds with its other policies on Farm to Fork and the Green Deal. Agreeing to extra beef imports while imposing greater restrictions on European and Irish farmers is deeply contradictory.”