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Farmers ‘screwed’ by charges

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FARMERS are being ‘nailed’ in terms of administrative costs for schemes such as GLAS and the Knowledge Transfer Scheme, according to independent West of Ireland TD, Michael Fitzmaurice.

The Roscommon-Galway East TD has now asked the Government to ‘investigate’ the charging regime for scheme requirements that’s being applied to farmers by Teagasc, agricultural consultants and vets.

“I have been contacted by several farmers about the excessive costs that are involved with participation in the GLAS and other schemes.

“My understanding is that to get into GLAS costs in the region of €400 to €500 with additional costs in relation to soil sampling and in the drawing up of a nutrient management plan.

“From what I am being told, it is costing a huge amount of money for the time it takes to carry out this plan and the money is all coming out of the farmers’ pockets before they get a penny out of the schemes,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

He also hit out at Teagasc – the national farm advisory body – who he said were supported with substantial State funding.

“Despite that State funding, Teagasc are at the top of the league when it comes to charging farmers for their involvement in the various schemes.

“Teagasc is being double paid at the expense of farmers who are struggling to keep bread and butter on the table,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

He added that there seemed to be a cartel like system in place as regards fees being charged to farmers with farmers facing fees of €1,000 to be ‘GLAS compliant’.

Deputy Fitzmaurice said that farmers paid an annual fee to Teagasc while they also paid them for any extra work involved with joining schemes and all this while the advisory body was getting a large State subvention.

“I will be further investigating the amount of money going into Teagasc from the Government in addition to what they are getting from farmers for the different schemes.

“The private planners need to be competitive too and need to realise that farmers do not have money ‘coming out of their ears’ – they also need to charge competitive and acceptable rates,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

He also said that some vets were imposing ‘astronomical charges’ for a ‘stock health check’ as part of the Knowledge Transfer Scheme.

Deputy Fitzmaurice said that he had also tabled a question as regards the 1,500 to 2,000 farmers who didn’t get into GLAS 2.

“We were told that they would get priority to get into the new scheme but so far I haven’t had a straight answer from the Dept. of Agriculture or the Government,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

 

Connacht Tribune

Cattle trade still going strong

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Micheál Haverty: Strong demand fuelling market.

A BUOYANT cattle trade looks set to continue through the Summer with marts reporting a very strong demand for stock – and especially so for quality animals ‘up the weights’.

With demand outweighing supply in key markets such as the UK, EU and China, cattle prices are expected to harden even further over the coming weeks.

Factory prices for steers and heifers are coming in at the meat plants this week at between €4.20 to €4.30 per kg as the factories are finding it difficult to source cattle to meet customer orders.

Galway IFA Livestock Committee Representative, Micheál Haverty, said that while the market situation for both cattle and sheep was quite encouraging, it needed to be, given the increase in input costs.

“There have been significant increases in price for fertiliser, fuel – and especially meal – which has taken a real hike.

“But at least with prices having increased for livestock, farmers will be in a position to meet those extra costs but margins are still very tight,” said Micheál Haverty.

Another encouraging sign, he said, was that prices had ‘hardened’ for cattle even before the latest lifting of restrictions relating to the coronavirus.

“Having said that, we are delighted to see the restaurant, hospitality and catering trade coming back to some sort of normality here at home.

“We know that there is a huge demand for locally produced, high-quality beef and lamb – the re-opening of this sector will also be a boost for competition,” said Micheál Haverty.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Miracle of the lost sheep in heart of Connemara

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Five of the Cladoirs at the National Park in Letterfrack.

AN extinct breed of sheep – written off as not hardy enough for the challenging Connemara landscape – has now officially re-emerged after a quarter of a century on the missing list!

The Cladoir species were native to Connemara, but post-Famine they were pushed out to the margins – literally to the water’s edge on the west coast – as other breeds found favour with farmers and land owners.

In fact their name, Cladoir, translates as shore dweller, and in their prime, they were kept mainly for their long wool, as opposed to their meat, before the Famine.

But in the 1850s, British breeds were introduced to the mountains, where they thrived, pushing native Cladoir sheep towards south Connemara. They survived around the coast in small numbers.

An agricultural researcher studied them at a research station in Maam in the 1980s, but the small flock was dispersed after he retired. The breed was deemed effectively extinct in 1995.

However, retired agricultural adviser Seán Cadden and Tom King, a farmer from Westport, were enchanted by the Cladoir story and made enquiries in South Connemara about the sheep.

They managed to assemble a small flock of Cladoir-like sheep, which were then purchased by Connemara National Park in Letterfrack in October 2019. A number of other Cladoir-like sheep were also purchased by the National Park last year.

Last autumn, 65 sheep from this flock were sampled for a DNA test; 56 of those including males and females had significant DNA of a distinct breed – the Cladoir DNA.

Their return from oblivion was officially recognised at the weekend when Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, visited Connemara National Park on Saturday.

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

Locals thanked for demo backing

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Anne Mitchell: Great local support.

GALWAY IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, has thanked the people of Athenry and surrounding areas for their support during Friday’s Action Day protest.

She told the Farming Tribune that the demonstration was planned to cause ‘absolute minimal disruption’ to the people, schools and businesses of the town as well as being conscious of Covid restrictions.

“We really didn’t want anyone on the streets because of the Covid situation and we also advised that where there was more than one person in a vehicle, and not from the same household, that they would wear masks,” said Anne Mitchell.

She said that they were also acutely aware of the fact that the Leaving Cert examinations were going on in schools around the town which dictated their decision to stage the protest between 11am and 12 noon.

However, one concerned parent who contacted this newspaper, said that the honking of horns could be heard by those who were doing their Leaving Cert geography exam on Friday.

“While I do understand the reasons behind the protest, I just think that the honking of horns should have been left out it, while an exam was in progress,” he said.

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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