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‘Eye in the sky’ pics should not have a retrospective usage

Francis Farragher

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THE ‘eye in the sky’ inspection of farms across the West of Ireland is resulting in farmers being penalised for small clumps of bushes or tiny lawn areas in front of their houses, according to East Galway Fine Gael TD, Paul Connaughton.

He said that this ‘every blade of grass’ inspection regime was making it impossible for many farmers to be compliant with EU regulations given the detail that was involved.

“The detail included in these aerial photographs makes the ‘spy in the sky’ the most accurate and formidable account of what is going on in Mother Earth.

“When you see small lawns in front of dwellinghouses, a lone tree in the middle of a big field and every pond and stream all included in the new map, it begs the question if the Land Registry maps – accepted and acknowledged for generations as being the legal instruments to satisfy ownership of lands – may now be soon challenged in a Court of Law,” said Deputy Connaughton.

He said that several hundred farmers in Galway were now fearing that they faced retrospective billing as part of the latest ‘eye in the sky’ revelations.

Deputy Connaughton said that farmers who had an area aid inspection five or six years ago – and who had their maps altered – had in good faith believed that this matter had been sorted out once and for all.

“Now they are finding that the new aerial photograph has me penalised by another 0.5 of a hectare for the smallest of deductions ranging from 0.01 to 0.20 of a hectare, spread out over the farm here there and everywhere, including lawns in front of houses,” said Deputy Connaughton.

He said that farmers under the 3% penalty clause (or two hectares) were now dreading another letter in the post in a few weeks time demanding payment back on whatever the ‘so called recovery’ of the Single Farm Payment may be. 

Deputy Connaughton said that all the farmers who spoke to him said they only wished to claim on eligible land and if there were some adjustments to be made following the aerial surveillance they would accept this. 

“But I believe there should be no retrospection whatsoever for the years past, given that it was the Department’s own maps which were used,” said Deputy Connaughton. 

Connacht Tribune

New design aims to take the backache from those last scoops in feed bin

Francis Farragher

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Michael and Brenda Egan with their new ‘Tipsy Bin’ – designed to make life easier ‘on the back’ for farmers.

IT can be the bane of many farmers’ lives in their yard as they try to extract the last buckets of meal from their bin leading to one big stretch and at times a stretched back too.

Now, a Glenamaddy entrepreneur is fully confident that he has ‘cracked the problem’ after designing a meal bin that neatly leans over on a bevel to take the ache out of that final clean out.

A couple of years back while out on his brother’s farm, Michael Egan, noticed how awkward it was ‘to get to the bottom of the bin’ and in one of those Eureka moments he thought that there just ‘had to be a better way’.

An Operations Manager for Kingspan and Rom Plastics before that, Michael set about designing the new bin which also incorporates a flat base and a clever water draining hole to facilitate an easy wash out.

Along with his wife Brenda, they have set up a company called Megafab who are now distributing their new Tipsy Bin to locations around the country but mostly in direct sales to farmers.

“We are aiming to sell directly to farmers and feel that the bin at €299 (including VAT) is quite keenly price with a  small delivery charge, depending on location.

“Initially we had hoped to launch the product in March but then the COVID situation happened so we put it off until October and I’m delighted to say that we’re flying it so far. The bin is very practical and user-friendly,” Michael Egan told the Farming Tribune.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Organic farmers in West get €1.3m

Francis Farragher

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Pippa Hackett: More money on the way for organic farming.

CLOSE on 70 organic farmers in Galway will be receiving average payments of almost €4,700 under the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS), the Dept. of Agriculture have confirmed.

Minister of State at the Dept. of Agriculture, Senator Pippa Hackett, confirmed the start of €5.5m worth of OFS payments to 1,200 farmers across the country from Wednesday last.

She said that the advance payments were being made two weeks ahead of schedule, with the success of the scheme being reflected in a 50% increase in organic farming acreage since 2014.

Currently, there are 68 Galway farmers in the OFS scheme who between them will be getting payments of €319,041 this week, an average of €4,691 per participant.

Between the five Connacht counties and Clare, there are now 366 farmers participating in the OFS scheme bringing in total advance payments of just over €1.3m, an average of  €3,500 per participant.

Roscommon has the biggest number of organic farmers in the West with a total figure of 141 participants followed by Galway on 68, Clare and Leitrim 51 each, with Mayo and Sligo having 56 organic farmers split evenly between them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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Connacht Tribune

New faces on IFA commodities committee

Francis Farragher

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A NUMBER of new faces will be elected onto the Galway IFA Commodities Committee in a postal vote that will begin next week and be completed by early December.

The most keenly contested position looks like being that of Rural Development representative with three candidates going for the job.

Eamonn Burke, Corrandulla branch, was the outgoing representative, but his term of office ends this month, opening the way for three new nominations.

They are: PJ Conroy, Looscaun, Woodford; Pat Flaherty, Oranmore and Peter Gohery of the Eyrecourt branch.

Rural Development is considered one of the more important positions in that it will be ‘fighting the case’ for the bigger spending areas such as REPS, GLAS and any new environmental scheme.

The other contest is for the position of Grain Representative which had been held by John Daly of Kilconnell, whose term of office is also up.

There are two nomination for this position – Eamonn Burke of Corrandulla and Mervyn Cooke of the Aughrim IFA branch.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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