Thursday, 4 March 2004

Questions (86, 87, 88)

Gerard Murphy

Question:

81 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if bull premia will be abolished; if it will result in a large amount of male cattle leaving Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7342/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture and Food)

All direct payments for cattle, sheep, dairying and arable crops will be decoupled from production on 1 January 2005. They will be replaced by a single payment based on farmers entitlements for the reference years 2000-02.

Premia on young bulls is payable only once during the lifetime of the animals from the age of nine months. In 2003 as many as 14% of the total eligible male animals in the category qualified for the payment with the balance being paid for first age steers.

It is not expected that decoupling will lead to a significant increase in male cattle exports. Decoupling will allow farmers the freedom to produce for the market and to focus on minimising production costs and maximising their incomes.

Gerard Murphy

Question:

82 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will intervene in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [7343/04]

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The person named claimed 12.59 hectares of forage on a parcel of land that contained a gross area of 6.32 hectares. This resulted in an overclaim of 6.27 hectares or 99.21%. The claimant was consulted about the matter and he accepted the gross area of 6.32 hectares as correct.

Under EU regulations where an applicant makes an area overclaim of greater than 50%, no premia payments are made for the year of application. In addition, a forage area equal to the eligible forage area found 6.32 hectares will be deducted from the eligible forage area found during the three years following the year of application in so far as premia payments are concerned.

The area claimed by the applicant on his 2003 area aid application was reduced to zero in accordance with the regulations. Therefore, he cannot be paid premia for 2004 in respect of the first 6.32 hectares of eligible forage area claimed. His single payment entitlement will not be effected by the penalty.

The EU regulations governing the 2003 area based compensatory allowance scheme are somewhat different. Although the person named cannot be paid the 2003 allowance because the difference between the area declared and the area found exceeded 20%. He can be paid for the next three years if eligible each year under the regulations for such payment.

Gerard Murphy

Question:

83 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his Department will grant moneys owed to a person (details supplied) in County Cork immediately because they are under severe financial pressure. [7344/04]

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The 2003 area aid application for the person named has been processed with a total forage area of 23.38 hectares. He applied for premia on 21 animals under the 2003 suckler cow premium scheme. A payment for €3765.72 issued on 16 October 2003. It represented his 80% advance instalment for the 21 animals. Balancing payments are due to commence later this month.

He lodged five applications in respect of 14 animals under the 2003 special beef premium scheme. He was paid the 80% advance in respect of 13 animals. His final application was processed and the 80% advance payment in respect of one animal will issue shortly. Balancing payments are scheduled to commence in late March or early in April.