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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

Farmers are advised to get early advice on 2023 Nitrates Derogation requirements

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Tighter limits in latest Nitrates Derogation requirements. Photo: Courtesy of Teagasc.

MORE intensively stocked farmers – the vast majority of them in the dairy sector – have been advised by the Minister for Agriculture to ‘engage as soon as possible’ with the Nitrates Derogation application process.

Charlie McConalogue also advised dairy farmers who previously did not avail of the derogation to consult with their agricultural advisors – given the new excretion rate bands applicable to dairy cows since January 1, 2023.

The Minister added that the Nitrates Derogation provided farmers with an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates without compromising water quality.

“The Nitrates Derogation is subject to certain strict conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of the Nitrates Directive.”

“All farmers have an important role to play in protecting our environment, particularly those farming more intensively.

“It is crucial that we protect and restore our waters as soon as possible to maintain the Nitrates Derogation at current levels into the future.

“Water quality is crucial to a healthy environment and farmers are keen to drive further improvements here,” said the Minister.

The Dept. of Agriculture has outlined the three bands applicable for dairy cows: 80kg N/cow; 92 kg N/cow; and 106 kg N/cow per year.  Previously, all dairy cows were considered equal in terms of a nutrient excretion rate at 89kg N/cow per year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway farmers to meet on crisis in sheep

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David Harney: Common sense has prevailed.
Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney

GALWAY sheep farmers will get the chance to vent their feelings on the prices and cost crisis facing the sector at a meeting in Tuam next week.

The meeting – hosted by Galway IFA – will take place in the Ard Rí House Hotel, Tuam, on Wednesday, February 8, starting at 8pm.

It follows a national meeting of sheep farmers in Athlone last month at which the problems facing the sector in terms of declining prices, rising costs and lack of Government aid were highlighted.

According to Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, information provided at the Athlone meeting by Teagasc specialists indicated a profitability level of only €7 per ewe for sheep farmers.

“This is absolutely flabbergasting. No member of society could work 24/7 and expect such a miserly return. Government support for the sheep industry is essential now in order to preserve the sector,” said Stephen Canavan.

Galway IFA Sheep representative David Harney also stated that the recent government report into the wool industry had provided nothing to sheep farmers that would give confidence in the future.

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.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Query over Department’s BVD Stats

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ALL may not be as the Dept. of Agriculture is painting it in relation to the prevalence of BVD in herds, according to a North Galway farmer who has contacted the Farming Tribune.

The farmer, from the Caltra area, who has a herd of 25 sucklers with no recent buy-ins, said that in the past year he had to have three calves put down due to BVD.

He said that while the Department of Agriculture were trying to paint a picture of BVD almost being eliminated from the national herd, this wasn’t the reality on the ground.

“This just isn’t the case on my farm – I now of other farmers who have lost animals due to BVD,” the farmer stated.

He said that he wanted to put the record straight as regards claims from Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, who had claimed that Ireland was now close to achieving ‘the goal of BVD freedom’.

BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea) was first recognised as a major disease problem in Irish herds when the first year of the BVD programme started.

According to the Minister for Agriculture, the incidence of the virus in tested animals stood at 0.66% while in 2022, this had dropped to 0.03%.

Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, said that while the overall national trend in the incidence of BVD was very encouraging, there could still be pockets of the disease in herds.

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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