Thursday, 19 September 2019

Questions (177)

Denis Naughten

Question:

177. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if assistance will be provided to farmers in the Shannon Callows who have lost fodder, aftergrass and to those that have been forced to house cattle early due to flooding; the engagement that he has had with Waterways Ireland and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht regarding works at Meelick weir; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38136/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am aware of the impact that recent bouts of unfavourable weather has had on farmers in certain regions including the Shannon Callows.   As you will be aware, the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Mr. Kevin  Moran T.D., recently announced a range of measures to alleviate flooding in the affected area. 

In recognising the major challenges faced by the farming sector and the important role that various schemes operated by my Department play in underpinning the viability of many farms, last month I secured agreement from the European Commission that will allow for a higher rate of advance payments under the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and a number of Rural Development Schemes.

In this regard, the rate of advance payment payable under the BPS from 16th October has been increased from 50% to 70%.  In addition, the rate of advance payments under Rural Development schemes such as GLAS and the Sheep Welfare Scheme has been increased from 75% to 85%.

Additionally, I have secured a funding increase to the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme which brings the total budget this year to €250m.  On foot of changes to EU Regulations, payments under the ANC Scheme will be made in two instalments this year.  The initial instalment of 85% worth €168.5m is scheduled to commence this week, with the balancing payments of 15% commencing in early December. These supports provides a major injection of funds to the farming community at an important time.

The Deputy will be aware that, broadly speaking, weather conditions have been favourable this year for farming and, given the significant availability of fodder countrywide, there are no plans to introduce fodder support measures this year.