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West’s farmers are being lined up for CAP ‘hit’ – Ó Cuív

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WEST of Ireland farmers could end up taking the ‘big hit’ in the new CAP programme because of the failure of the Agriculture Minister to get a minimum 40% commitment from Ireland built into the Pillar 2 EU agreement, it has been claimed this week.

Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesman, Éamon Ó Cuív, said that the failure of Minister Simon Coveney to get the Irish Pillar 2 contribution ‘built into the EU deal had now left ‘the road open’ for Public Expenditure Minister, Brendan Howlin to ‘plunder’ the co-funding budget over the coming years.

Deputy Ó Cuív also said that the main farming organisations had ‘also taken their eye off the ball’ during the key CAP negotiations by not highlighting the omission of the minimum co-funding stipulation in the deal struck with the EU earlier this year.

“I am extremely concerned in the run-up to the announcement on the Pillar 2 co-funding that the cohort of farmers who will end up taking the ‘big financial hit’ in the new CAP will be the smaller, lower income farmers along the Western Seaboard.

“If the co-funding Budget is cut significantly, then it is the schemes like DAS (disadvantaged areas) and REPS/AEOS that will suffer, and the effect will be completely disproportionate on a regional level,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

He said that right from the start of CAP negotiations, his big fear was that the smaller farmers in the West of Ireland would end up coming out at the wrong end of this deal.

“I said all along that the farming organisations, and especially the West of Ireland representatives, needed to keep their eye very closely on the ball, as to how the CAP funds would be distributed.

“DAS and the environmental schemes are absolutely crucial for farmers in the West of Ireland but if the Irish Government start pulling back on their roughly 50/50 contribution to Pillar 2, then it doesn’t take a genius to work out, who will end up out of pocket over the next seven years,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

He said that if the EU annual Pillar 2 funding for Ireland was matched by the Irish Government on a 53% (EU)/47% basis, this would result in a yearly injection to the rural economy of close on €600m per annum.

However, if the Government – ‘under the prompting of Minister Brendan Howlin’ – dropped their contribution to the 25% mark, this could end up taking close on €1 billion out of the rural economy between 2014 and 2020.

“With an announcement pending on co-funding – possibly on December 17 next – the time is short for farmers and their representatives to get moving on this. We’ll know then, whether it’s the farmers in the West that are left to carry the can,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Worry of walkers claiming against farmers

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Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy

FARMERS in hill-walk areas such as Connemara need to have their concerns allayed about insurance indemnification, the IFA has warned this week.

A pilot insurance project for farmers – as outlined by Rural and Community Development Minister, Heather Humphrey – is in the pipeline but has not yet been enacted into legislation.

Connacht IFA Chair, Pat Murphy, said that farmers in such areas needed the clear reassurance that if walkers on their farm had a fall or mishap, then the landowners would not be liable for any compensation.

“This really is a red line issue for farmers and landowners. They must be guaranteed in law that if hill-walkers are allowed on their lands that no liability will attach to the landowner if something happens,” said Pat Murphy.

He said that while farmers supported the principle of people being able to access the more scenic areas of the countryside, the issue of insurance indemnification had to be crystal clear.

“We also know that the issue of dogs being let roam by people out on country walks is one that needs to be addressed.

“The first thing a dog will do that’s let roam free will be to follow the nearest animal they see, and this is a major worry especially for sheep farmers,” said Pat Murphy.

Meanwhile, National Hill Committee Chairman Flor McCarthy has expressed concerns about recreational users not abiding by the Countryside Code during the recent spell of good weather.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Now is the right time to plan ahead for next year’s crop of Spring lambs

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The boss is around: Prepare early for the breeding season. Photo: Compliments of Agriland.

IT might still only be Midsummer, but a Teagasc specialist has advised sheep farmers that now is the time to start planning ahead for the upcoming breeding season.

Michael Gottstein, Head of Sheep Knowledge Transfer, said that while most people considered the breeding season to be just the five to six weeks that the rams were out with the ewes, in reality it was much longer.

“The breeding season for next year’s lamb crop actually starts once the current year’s lamb crop is weaned,” Michael Gottstein has advised in the Summer edition of the Teagasc magazine, Today’s Farm.

He outlined three key Summer dates for sheep farmers – late June/early July for weaning and checking on the condition of the ewes; early July for a ram health check; and late July/early August when the ram sales kick off.

The Teagasc specialist said that productive ewes will require about 10 weeks of good grass after weaning to regain body weight lost during pregnancy and lactation.

“Contrary to what many farmers think, it is not a good idea to allow ewes to lose weight post-weaning. Thin ewes that do not regain body condition after six weeks of good grass should be culled,” said Michael Gottstein.

He also advised that rams should be checked in early July for lameness, body condition, as well as for signs of disease or injury – while, like the ewes, they needed time to regain body condition.

“Identify how many, if any, replacements (rams) are required and purchase them early, so that they have the best chance of acclimatising to their new environment and feeding regime,” he added.

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.

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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

Fair Deal reached as Bill is enacted

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Maura Canning: Good day expected.
Maura Canning, the former IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chairperson

RELIEF has been expressed this week in farming and political circles that at last the Fair Deal Nursing Home legislations changes have been passed by the Oireachtas.

The Bill went through the Dáil last Thursday and the Seanad on Friday, bringing to a conclusion a campaign that started back in 2012.

Maura Canning, the former IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chairperson, told the Farming Tribune there was a great sense of relief that a nine-year long campaign had at last got over the line.

“It has been such a long and difficult campaign to secure this deal with a lot of complications and obstacles along the way. At times, we seemed to be almost there, until something happened to hold up the process, but there really was a great sense of relief last Friday when the Bill at last passed through its final stages,” said Maura Canning.

She paid a particular to former Minister of State, Jim Daly; the current incumbent Mary Butler; and also to the many TDs and Senators that had been lobbied over the years on the issue. “No TD ever failed to return a call,” she said.

The key change in the new Bill is that there will be a three-year cap on the 7.5% annual contribution of the overall value of the farm where the farmer or their spouse is in a nursing home. There are a number of conditions attached to this CAP, the most significant of which is the fact that the farm must be signed over fully to the inheritor for a five-year period and this person must also continue farming on the land.

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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