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Call for farm inspections to be taken from Dept. of Agriculture

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THE Dept. of Agriculture has been accused by a West of Ireland Labour Senator of a savage increase in farm penalties aimed at bringing about savings for the Dept. of Finance.

Senator Lorraine Higgins said that an estimated 500% hike in penalties for 2012 simply did not make any sense, adding that farmers ‘hadn’t become vandals’ overnight.

She said that the time had come for Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to explain publicly why this ‘sky rocket’ increase in penalties had occurred.

“Farmers haven’t just become vandals as the level of penalties for 2012 asserts. They are creatures of habit and use the same practices and techniques, so to see penalties sky rocket like they have, does not make sense.

“I’d hate to think the increase in penalties, which is grossly estimated at 500%, is an attempt at targeteds savings by the Department. Farmers need to be safe in the knowledge that they won’t face further hits during the inspection period for the remainder of 2013,” said Senator Higgins.

She said that the time had come to make the farm inspection process an independent one and to take it out of the direct control of the Dept. of Agriculture.

“I am also calling on the Minister to make the inspection process fully independent from his Department. It is imperative that a separate independent body, free from the shackles of the Department carries out these inspections.

“As things stand these inspectors are exercising quasi-judicial functions and are imposing penalties without any recourse to natural or constitutional justice or fair procedures and as a Government we should not tolerate this.

“I have had many constituents complain to me that the rules pertaining to inspections are very often flouted by the Department’s inspectors and on many occasions in the past I have expressed reservations as to the procedure for carrying out farm inspections on the floor of the Seanad.

“Given that 35% of all those inspected last year have had reductions to their Single Farm Payments totalling €2.6 million, my fears are well-founded. Indeed one third of farmers inspected under the nitrates regulations were reduced and one fifth of all farmers inspected under the land eligibility scheme were also penalised,” said Senator Higgins.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Suffolks make €2,500 at Roscommon sale

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Alastair Barclay judging the stock at the Suffolk Show and Sale in Roscommon earlier this month.

THE standard and quality of sheep presented at the 51st Premier Show & Sale of West of the Ireland Registered Pedigree Suffolk Sheep Breeders Club took place in Roscommon Mart on Saturday, August 6 was top class.

Judge, Mr Alaister Barclay of the renowned Northern Ireland Flock, Redbrae Suffolks, was faced with a difficult task in judging the classes.

Harry Graham of the Westside Flock, Sligo, won the Young Handler’s Class which he founded in 2019 – this was his third win of the year.

The Summerhill flock of Mattie and Kevin Kelly in Galway won the Champion Ewe Lamb Cass – sired by Howgillfoot Batman.

In the Novice Ram Class, new breeder, Caillin Joyce of the Ballintleva Flock, Westport, took the spoils and he also went to claim 4th in the Open Ram class.

In the Gigot Class, it was the turn of the Ballygarris Flock of Michael and Marie Jennings, Mayo to take the honours with Windyhill Magic sired lamb. The Jennings’ winning run continued in the Open Class where they claimed the top spot with a powerful Strathbogie Joel son which was born to a Ballygarris Ewe.

The Pairs Class saw 7 flocks competing for the top honours and it was the Loughrynn Flock of Coote & Trevor Geelan who won out here.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Farmland in strong demand across Galway

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Colm Farrell: Good farmland across Galway is making around €10,000 an acre.

A TIGHT supply with strong demand probably sums up the Galway market for farmlands so far this year with prices averaging out at around the €10,000 an acre mark.

According to Gort auctioneer, Colm Farrell, the demand for the better-quality farmland is particularly strong and especially so if neighbouring farmers are in competition for the ground.

He also pointed out that dairy farmers were also very keenly interested in farmland that became available either in their general area or bordering their farms.

“The demand is very strong here in Galway for good quality land which can be in scarce enough supply.

“Many neighbouring or nearby farmers will see this as a one-off chance to increase their holding,” Colm Farrell told the Farming Tribune.

He also said that the ‘auction’ sale method seemed to deliver the biggest demand and competition for land coming on the market. “Auctions do tend to focus the minds of buyers,” he said.

Next month, Colm Farrell will have two farms both coming up for sale at public auction in O’Sullivan’s of Gort on Friday, September 16 next – both 70-acre holdings – one of them in Peterswell and the other in Aughrim.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Flexibility and budget worries over direction of new scheme

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Michael Biggins: Disappointed at scheme.

THE new ACRES (Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme) due to be rolled out on January 1 next is ‘restrictive and complicated’ according to West of Ireland farming representative.

IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins, said that the proposed scheme was ‘far from a new REPS’ and urgently needed to be modified in terms of flexibility and budget allocation.

“As it’s currently proposed, ACRES is restrictive and complicated.  It will inflict more compliance costs on farmers, resulting in less income.

“The scheme is designed to discourage people from farming. In order to achieve the average payment, farmers will have to commit more land to lower levels of production compared to previous schemes,” said Michael Biggins.

He added that all farmers who applied needed to be accepted into the scheme while those farmers applying in 2023 would have to be paid in the same year.

Details of the €1.5 billion ACRES scheme were outlined by the Dept. of Agriculture in June with two entry streams – a general or individual one: and a co-operation model for environmentally sensitive area including Connemara and parts of South Galway and Mayo.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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