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Hill farmers seek ‘fair deal’

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HILLFarmers

CLOSE on 1,000 hill farmers across the Western Seaboard protested outside the offices of Ministers Simon Coveney and Jimmy Deenihan last Thursday in Dublin over losses they are facing in the gap year of 2014 before the new CAP comes into play in 2015.

The farmers are seeking a roll-over of the Duchas compensation scheme through 2014 and also want the dropping of the ‘collective agreement’ clause for commonage farmers to qualify for the new GLAS environmental scheme.

Farm leaders met with both Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney and Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Minister, Jimmy Deenihan, in Dublin last week after refusing to leave the offices until they got a commitment for the meeting.

Connacht IFA Region Chairman, Brendan Joyce told the Farming Tribune, that they were seeking the roll-over of the Dúchas scheme to compensate farmers for the environmental measures that they were carrying through in 2014.

“One of the basic principles of getting farmers to put in place various environmental measures was that they would be compensated. Farmers just cannot be left in the lurch through this year without any payments,” said Brendan Joyce.

He said that the collective agreement clause for commonage farmers to get into the new GLAS scheme was completely unworkable and needed to be withdrawn immediately.

“This was never in the REPS or AEOS scheme and it is not a requirement of the EU. This is something clearly within the remit of the Ministe to change and we want him to do so immediately,” said Brendan Joyce.

He said that they were also seeking a restoration of the €150 per hectare payment rate for the GLAS scheme from its current level of €75 per hectare.

“We have a further meeting with the Minister on July 1 but it is critical that these changes are now made before we submit our final plan to the EU Commission on July 26.

“These changes require a relatively small amount of money to implement but they will have major implications for hill farmers, and other farmers in restricted areas, over the coming five to six years,” said Brendan Joyce.

Connacht IFA Chairman, Tom Turley said that farmers in areas like the Shannon Callows, the Slieve Aughties and other sensitive regions were also seriously affected by environmental restrictions.

“The whole principle agreed a number of years back was that where farmers were caught up by environmental restrictions they would receive adequate annual compensation.

“This is a very basic principle of the whole EU strategy in environmentally sensitive areas and must be followed through on by the Irish Government,” said Tom Turley.

Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Green Ribbon walk in Coole

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Galway farmers who took part in the IFA’s Green Ribbon walk

AT long last, it was back to the great outdoors on Sunday last for a party of Galway farmers (pictured) who took part in the IFA’s Green Ribbon walk at Coole Park, Gort.

It was all part of the IFA’s national day out at different venues across the country to promote the concepts of good mental health and people taking care of each other.

With the easing of Covid restrictions, IFA is encouraging families and individuals to get ‘out and about’ as a way of helping to relieving the stresses of daily life.

Close on 40 people took part in the walk through the beautiful grounds of Coole Park and it is hoped to have many more on what should be an unrestricted event next year.

Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, said that the walk to promote awareness of mental health issues, represented a return to some form of normality as Ireland gradually came out of the pandemic.

“It was a lovely event to promote mental health and wellbeing among all ages. Already we are looking forward to next year’s walk when we hope to have a lot more people taking part,” said Anne Mitchell.

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Connacht Tribune

Bord Bia say demand is ‘on the up’ for quality assured lambs

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Market growing for quality assured Irish lamb.

WHILE 95% of Irish beef is quality assured (QA) at the point of slaughter, the comparable figure for Irish lamb is only 60%, according to the latest Farmer Newsletter from the Bord Bia Quality Assured body.

It pointed out that while QA status on Irish lamb has been important on the domestic market for some time, there has recently been growing interest from key EU customers in securing quality assured Irish lamb.

“Purchasers of Irish lamb products are increasingly looking for proof that meat is produced sustainably on farms that are certified members of an accredited quality assurance scheme.

“Such a quality assurance scheme is to be based on sustainability principles incorporating environmental, social and economic aspects,” the newsletter states.

It also stated the importance of presenting lambs for slaughter that meet customer specifications as regards weight limits and fat cover.

The current specification from the major processors is generally for R grading lambs or better with a fat score of 3 and a carcase weight of 21kg, according to Bord Bia.

They state that upper carcase weight limits can vary across the year from 20kg-23kg, with ‘no economic sense’ in keeping lambs to heavier carcase weights if they can be finished sooner.

“Killing a lamb with adequate fat cover is also essential to meet customer requirements, and in recent weeks, some reports have indicated an increase in the number of under-finished lambs being presented for slaughter due to deadweight prices coming under pressure.

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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