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Computer glitch to cause a delay in payments

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Wood pigeons having an early morning bath in a pothole puddle on the road near Athenry. Picture: Hany Marzouk

A computer glitch could mean that farmers could have difficulties in making their application for the new Basic Payment Scheme – formerly the Single Farm Payment.

Farmers who wanted to make ‘early bird’ applications discovered to their horror that the Department website crashed a couple of times before they were eventually successful.

Applications for the scheme close on May 29 but there are fears that the system may collapse if there are a glut of activity on the website on the final days.

One farmer told Farming Tribune that it was his first time to apply online as he had normally submitted his applications in hard copies and had posted them.

“I wanted to get my application out of the way and when I went to get it done online, something happened to the website and it crashed. It took more than half an hour before my application went through”, he said.

Galway East TD Paul Connaughton jnr said that a nightmare situation could develop in the days running up to the closure of applications if there were similar problems.

The BPS also includes the application for the old Disadvantaged Area Scheme which is now known as the Areas of Natural Constraint. Deputy Connaughton said he shuddered to think what would happen when thousands of farmers go to use this system in coming weeks and particularly in the run up to the May 29 deadline.

“This is the most vital farm payment of all”, said Deputy Connaughton. “As most farmers have to make a living from the cheque in the post and I will be in contact as a matter of urgency with the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney about this matter.

“I believe that unless better access can be created to the Department’s website, there will be mayhem all over the country”, he added.

Deputy Connaughton said that because applications were also being sought from farmers for the new GLAS scheme (old REPS and AEOS schemes), the Department’s website will be red hot when some 30,000 farmers or more apply for this scheme, which has a deadline of May 22 next.

The Fine Gael TD said that because of the transition from the Single Farm Payment to the new Basic Payment Scheme, farmers should be extra vigilant and should seek professional help in the filling up of their applications if any doubt exists concerning matters relating to eligibility rules.

Connacht Tribune

Move sought on scheme to promote growing of catch crops

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Stephen Canavan: Scheme needed on catch crops.

THE Dept. of Agriculture has been urged to ‘move swiftly’ and introduce an incentive scheme for the growing of ‘catch crops’ this Summer to help any potential Winter feed shortages.

Galway IFA Chairman, Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that such a scheme would be easy to introduce and would incentivise farmers to grow catch crops such as rape and kale.

“These crops would provide a high-quality feed for stock during the early Winter period and would also give farmers the opportunity to reseed land for next year,” said Stephen Canavan.

He said that while the Fodder Support Scheme (FSS) would be a welcome help to farmers, more assistance from the Dept. of Agriculture would be required to ensure that there were no feed shortages over the coming Winter season.

Fast growing catch crops – such as rape and kale – can be sown in mid to late Summer and still be ready for feeding by the early Winter period.

However, last week, National IFA Chair, Paul O’Brien, hit out at the EU Commission for delivering ‘mixed messages’ in terms of their policy on farmers producing more grain and fodder crops.

He said that while last month, the EU were encouraging farmers to grow more crops for feed, they were at the same time pressing ahead with proposals for reductions in the use of pesticides – essential for crop protection.

“Commissioner Wojciechowski was explicit when he addressed our National Council last month: ‘the EU Farm to Fork policy will have to be re-visited in light of food security concerns.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Challenge is to keep farmers in profit while changing their ways

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Michael Hayden: Bleak 2022 income prospects for many farmers.

“IT’S hard to be green when in the red,” sums up the challenge faced by many farmers over the coming years, according to a leading Irish academic.

Michael Hayden, Assistant Professor of Accounting at Maynooth University, has warned that farmers face a major challenge when trying to balance economic sustainability with environmental sustainability.

“If we want to maintain a sustainable food supply, economic sustainability should not be sacrificed for environmental sustainability.

“Instead, the focus should be on educating farmers and changing work practices to meet the dual agenda of economic and environmental sustainability,” said Michael Hayden.

Writing in the latest edition of the Teagasc TResearch magazine, he points out that many of the farm enterprises in Ireland are ‘financially vulnerable’ with a high reliance on subsidies to provide financial support.

He said that this was particularly the case for beef, sheep and tillage farmers with 87% of beef farmers, 75% of sheep farmers, and 63% of tillage farmers, acknowledging in the 2021 Irish Farm Report, that their enterprises did not provide them with an adequate income.

“With rising costs of farm inputs, such as fuel, fertiliser and feed, placing additional pressure on profit margins for food producers, the outlook for 2022 farm incomes is bleak.

“Recent events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have also increased the complexity of this situation, placing renewed focus on the necessity of having a sustainable food supply,” said Mr. Hayden.

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

Cautious welcome for fodder aid scheme

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Pat Murphy: Scheme should be open to all farmers.

THERE has been a guarded welcome for the Fodder Support Scheme from farm representatives – after an initial hiccup over the exclusion of hill farmers.

Now, according to Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, farmers with Category 1 lands in ANC areas – essentially hill farmers – will be eligibility to draw the payments: €100 per hectare up to a maximum of €1,000.

Connacht IFA Regional Chair, Pat Murphy, told the Farming Tribune that hill farmers should never have been excluded in the scheme in the first place but at least the situation had been remedied following the U-turn by the Minister and the Department.

“In our view the scheme should have been open to all applicants – dairy farmers are still excluded – given the rocketing costs of fertiliser, meal and fuel.

“The scheme will be a help to farmers, but we feel strongly that more aid will be required given the current situation with costs – and also what’s being projected over the coming months,” said Pat Murphy.

He advised farmers to ensure that by the end of the silage season they all had enough fodder in their yards to see them through the Winter ahead.

“You just never know what kind of Winter or Spring we will get – the key thing for every farmer is to have that bit extra in reserve just in case a worst-case scenario emerges,” said Pat Murphy.

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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