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Farming

Deadline extension will ease pressure

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Michael Burke and Eamon McDonagh, Moycullen, carrying out running repairs at the County Galway Ploughing Championships in Ahascragh. Photo: Gerry Stronge.

A MID-JUNE extended deadline for the receipt of Basic Payment Scheme and GLAS applications will go a long way towards freeing-up the logjam faced by planners and farmers, according to farming and planners representatives.

Last week, Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, said that he warmly welcomed the announcement from Ag. Commissioner, Phil Hogan, that he was considering extending the submission deadldine following requests from member states.

Minister Coveney said  that an additional period would take some of the pressure off farmers who are coming to grips with the extensive changes in the CAP.  “We have asked for early clarification of the new application deadlines and that this extension should apply to Pillar I and to Pillar II schemes,” said Minister Coveney.

Connacht IFA Regional Chairman, Tom Turley, said that an extension to a mid-June date for the schemes would make a huge difference to farmers and planners.

He said that with many planners facing ongoing difficulty with the Department’s online service, the need was all the more acute for the extension of the deadline date.

“With the change to the Basic Payments Scheme and the later introduction of GLAS, farmers and planners were facing into impossible deadlines.

“A meaningful date extension into mid-June will help greatly to relieve that pressure. It is just the sensible thing to do – the same things applies to other EU member states,” said Tom Turley.

Leading Agri-Consultant, Vincent Costello from New Inn, told the Farming Tribune that while they hadn’t yet received specific information on the extension dates, it would be a very welcome development for all concerned.

“Realistically with GLAS coming on stream as well as the new Basic Payments Scheme, the timeline was just far too tight for both planners and farmers. We are also hoping for a lengthy extension of the Commonage Management Plans deadline that currently stands at July 3, 2015,” said Vincent Costello.

IFA President, Eddie Downey, said that the closing date extension for the 2015 EU Basic Payment application would provide the necessary breathing space for farmers and advisors, ‘but it cannot result in any delay in payments later in the year’.

“There is still a lot confusion in relation to the implementation of the new CAP rules for 2015 and farmers must be given adequate time to take the necessary steps to maximise their payments.

“Farmers and planners should continue to push hard in order to get the maximum number of area aid applications in as early as possible as this will facilitate early processing and payment,” said Eddie Downey.

 

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.

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Connacht Tribune

‘Smart villages’: the way forward

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Pictured at the recent opening of the ‘Smart Villages’ office in Mountbellew were: Anne Kinsella, Chairperson of Galway Rural Development; Senator Aisling Dolan; and Minister for Rural Development and Social Protection, Heather Humphreys.

A RECENTLY opened Galway Rural Development (GRD) office in Mountbellew could be the forerunner to similar ‘Smart Villages’ initiatives over the coming years, according to the organisers of the scheme.

The Smart Villages initiative is part of the European Network for Rural Development, aimed at improving services in country areas such as health, social, energy, transport and retail.

The Mountbellew office was officially opened by Minister for Rural/Community Affairs  Heather Humphreys, who said that the initiative marked an important step forward in terms of rural development.

CEO of Galway Rural Development, Steve Dolan, said that last year they had picked out Mountbellew as their pilot location for the Smart Villages project which would offer a lot of opportunities for rural communities mainly through the use of information and communications technology

“Smart Village training has been developed and delivered, up-skilling many in the community in local development, connectivity, sustainability, and more. The opening of this office in Mountbellew is as a result of our shared efforts,” said Steve Dolan.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Anger as factories continue to chop lamb price

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Stephen Canavan: No reason for price cuts.

THE meat plants have been accused of trying ‘to make a fast buck’ on the backs of sheep farmers with lamb prices now back by a euro per kilo, as compared to just over a month ago.

Farm leaders have said that the factories are trying ‘to tough it out’ before more finished lambs begin to come on the market over the next month or so.

Galway IFA Chairman,  Stephen Canavan, told the Farming Tribune that there was no good reason for the chain of factory price cuts over the past five weeks or so.

“All the information we are getting is that the supply of finished lambs is still quite limited but the factories have obviously taken a decision to cut now, before the number of finished lambs increase through the Autumn.

“It’s just another example of the meat plants trying to make a fast buck at the expense of the primary producer at a time when input costs for farmers have never been as high,” said Stephen Canavan.

Lamb prices are this week hovering at the €6.50 per kg mark – down from a high of over €7.50 per kg in late June, equating to a price drop for farmers of around €20 per lamb.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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