Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

Questions (176)

Dara Calleary

Question:

176. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reasons for the delay in payment of an agri-environment option scheme application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; if he will expedite this application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21683/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from 1st September 2011 and has received full payment totalling €689.94 in respect of 2011.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme, a comprehensive administrative check of all applications, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. Payments in respect of the 2012 Scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process which includes verification of capital investments through checks on receipts. These checks have been successfully completed and payment will issue shortly.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Questions (177)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

177. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payment of the agri-environment options scheme will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21719/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1st September 2010 and full payments issued in respect of 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. Payments in respect of the 2012 scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process. These checks have been successfully completed and full payment totalling €3,318.28 has now issued to the person named – 75% payment issued on 21st December 2012 and the balancing 25% payment issued on 10th January 2013.

Fodder Crisis

Questions (178)

Denis Naughten

Question:

178. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress he is making to source a ship to import large tonnage of hay from the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21740/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I have put in place a €1 million scheme to support the transport cost associated with the importation of hay, haylage and maize silage from the UK and other countries. The importation of forage under the scheme is being managed at my request by the Dairy co-operatives. The scheme has been very successful to date with over 900 loads of hay, haylage and maize silage received and ordered into the country as of Tuesday, 7th May.

It is a matter for the dairy co-operatives who are managing this importation to arrange the most efficient means of transporting this forage into the country.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

Questions (179)

Denis Naughten

Question:

179. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress he is making to try to release area based compensation payments in advance of September 2013 to assist farmers currently under serious financial pressure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21741/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Mindful of ongoing difficulties, I have decided that a formal request should again be made to the EU Commission seeking agreement to pay an advance from 16 October of the 2013 Single Farm Payment which, being the first day of the new EU financial year is the earliest potential payment date and almost two months ahead of the standard timeline. It will be recalled that my successful approach to Commissioner Ciolos for agreement to making an advance payment of the 2012 Single Farm Payment was prompted by the very wet weather experienced throughout last summer.

My Department will continue to make every effort to ensure that payments under the 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme commence as early as possible in September, while taking into account of the need to adhere to the requirement in the governing EU Regulation, which provides that all eligibility checks must be finalised before full payments can commence.

In light of the difficulties experienced by farmers in sourcing fodder supplies, I announced, on 24 April, the allocation of €1 million to fund the Imported Fodder Transport Scheme, which is designed to reduce the cost to farmers of imported forage (hay, silage, haylage) from outside the island of Ireland. In light of the continuing difficulties being experienced last week, I extended the duration of the scheme to Friday 10th May, and a broadening of its scope to include maize silage. All fodder ordered in advance of that date will be supported by this scheme. The amounts of such supplies will require notification to my Department prior to 10th May and approval for coverage under the scheme.

I am pleased to note that since the introduction of this Scheme that significant quantities of fodder have been imported and are reaching those in most need.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

Questions (180)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

180. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kerry has not received any payments for 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21753/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department has no record of receiving a 2011 Single Payment/Disadvantaged Area application from the person named. All Single Payment Scheme applications sent out by my Department in 2011 contained a pre-addressed return envelope with a Swiftpost label attached for which the herd owner receives a receipt from the Post Office upon posting. If the person named can provide this proof of postage or provide a substantiated explanation, my Department will review the case based on the information and documentation submitted. My Department has also been in direct contact with the person named to assist with the process.

Fodder Crisis

Questions (181)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

181. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he has evaluated the impact of the fodder shortage on the farming sector in all regions throughout the country; the extent to which it has been possible to make available emergency supplies; the extent to which the provisions to date in this regard have been sufficient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21789/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The fodder issue is something that my Department has been monitoring and dealing with for months at this stage. To help alleviate the difficulties being encountered by farmers, I established the €1 million Transport Fodder Scheme. Since the scheme was announced over 900 loads of fodder have been received or ordered. I am satisfied that this volume of imports is making a real difference on farms and assisting farmers through the fodder shortage. More recently I announced an extension in the duration of the Imported Fodder Transport Scheme to Friday 10th May, and a broadening of its scope to include maize silage. All fodder ordered in advance of that date will be supported by this scheme. The amounts of such supplies will require notification to my Department prior to 10th May and approval for coverage under the scheme.

My Department is evaluating the current fodder situation on an ongoing basis. As changes can and do occur on an almost daily basis, adjustments are made as and when they are required.

Fodder Crisis

Questions (182)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

182. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which his Department has monitored animal mortality arising from the feed shortage caused by the long winter and inclement spring weather conditions; if any particular steps can be taken to make provision for the future in this regard in the event of continued poor weather conditions in the current year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21790/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department is monitoring animal mortality on an ongoing basis. There has been an increase of over 20% this Spring when compared to the same period in 2012. While access to fodder is an immediate priority, grass growth in the months ahead will be the key to ensuring that this problem is overcome. In this regards I have asked Teagasc’s advisory service to prioritise advice to farmers in the period ahead and to focus on the optimum use of fertiliser in generating feed for the national herd.

An Early Warning System, which is overseen by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (FAWAC) and operated from my Department, has been in place for some time to respond to queries from farmers who are facing emergency animal welfare situations and are in need of support. Feed is being sourced and provided to any farmer who is dealing with an animal welfare crisis and is in need of assistance.

Over 500 calls have been received to date through the system. The vast majority of calls are being adequately supported through fodder being made available under the transport subsidy scheme but a small portion of farmers, in need of more substantial support have been assisted directly by the Department. In excess of 100 farmers have received emergency financial assistance to the value of €180 - €1,000 under this system.

My Department’s Veterinary Inspectors continue to be actively engaged in providing emergency assistance under the Department’s early warning system to farmers whose animals are currently experiencing serious welfare issues and where the farmer him/herself is unable to cope with the situation.

I want to remind farmers that the animal welfare emergency assistance helpline continues to operate where animal welfare is seriously at risk. The emergency helpline number - 1850 21 19 90 (Low-call). No animal should die of starvation in this country and help is available to those farmers who cannot cope. I will continue to work with all stakeholders in the sector to get through this difficult period caused by very unusual weather patterns.