Thursday, 10 July 2014

Questions (140)

Heather Humphreys


140. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will consider increasing the income supplement paid to farmers where an above average number of their herd are identified as reactors, especially during high-production months. [30641/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The primary compensation measure available under the TB Eradication scheme to herdowners, whose holdings are restricted due TB and who have reactor animals removed, is the On Farm Market Valuation scheme. In 2013, my Department paid €10.5m to 3,376 herdowners under this Scheme. In addition, herdowners may also qualify for additional payments under the Income Supplement, Hardship or Depopulation Grant schemes subject to compliance with the criteria applying in each scheme.

Under the Income Supplement scheme, grants are payable in those cases where the breakdown results in the removal of more than 10% of animals from the herd, where depopulation is not deemed appropriate, subject to other qualification criteria being met. The rates payable range from €25.39 to €38.09 per month, per animal, depending on the type of animal removed. Payments are subject to a maximum of 100 animals qualifying for payment. Eligible herdowners continue to receive monthly payments throughout the breakdown period. Grants of €1.5m were paid to 934 herdowners under this scheme in 2013.

I am satisfied that the suite of measures in place which, in addition to the main market-value compensation mechanism already referred to, includes the Income Supplement Scheme and also a Depopulation Grant and a Hardship Grant, provide a level of support appropriate to the various disease breakdown scenarios, particularly in the current challenging budgetary environment.