The Irish Farmers' Association has called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to put measures in place to allow farmers to postpone their tax payments for a year or two and pay them over the following two years.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, IFA President Joe Healy also called on the minister to ensure that the various farm payment schemes are adequately funded and that the payments are made on time.

Mr Healy said the Government has an "ideal opportunity now to show their awareness of the urgency of the pressures in the farming community through the budget".

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Mr Creed has said he is "very conscious of the pressure on farm incomes" and said it is one of his key priorities as minister to bring them through the current income difficulties.

Mr Creed said his department has "been working on a range of initiatives with farming communities across the EU and with other member states" to help farmers come through this.

He said following the lifting of the milk quotas, the challenge for the Irish dairy industry is to move up the value chain with innovation, new product development and to capture emerging markets.

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The minister said his department has established a dedicated unit within the Department of Agriculture on Brexit and has established a consultative forum with the relevant stakeholders to discuss the issues.

The Government is creating awareness at a political level of Ireland's "unique trading relationship with the UK in the context of the European Union", he said.

He said this is to ensure that when the UK triggers Article 50, Ireland's "unique position is clearly understood and the negotiations' outcome will reflect that position".

Mr Creed said he will be meeting his UK counterpart to discuss the matter in the coming weeks.

Mr Healy said "it's imperative, as far as agriculture is concerned, that the Irish are at the negotiating table" to ensure the agri-food markets are safeguarded.

He added that "there has to be a plan as the UK market is so important to Ireland".

Responding to criticism over falling farmer incomes, Mr Healy said "there's anger and frustration amongst farmers all over the country at a number of things", but mainly that the "fair share from the market place isn't being passed back to the farmer".

Farmer incomes are under pressure, he said, and that throughout 2016 they have seen "most of the farming sector sell below the cost of production".

"Prices have improved somewhat" in the last couple of months as a result of pressure from the IFA and other farming organisations, he added.

The comments come as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co Offaly over the next three days.