Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Ceisteanna (146)

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

237 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will assist in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary who has applied for the suckler cow quota from the 2004 national reserve. [3310/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Agriculture and Food)

The person named applied for an allocation of suckler cow quota from the 2004 suckler cow national reserve under category D, which catered for regular applicants under the suckler cow premium scheme who required extra quota to ensure the viability of their holdings.

However, applicants under category A, first time applicants in 2004, category B, farmers with holdings on off shore islands, and category C, organic farmers registered with the Department, all have priority over category D applicants and this has resulted in only a relatively small amount of quota being available for category D applicants.

In deciding how this limited quota should be allocated, the quota review group recommended, and I accepted their recommendation, that the quota under category D should be allocated to applicants with 60 LUS or under and commencing with those farmers with the lowest number of livestock units first, and then to continue to allocate, increasing the reference livestock unit by one, until all the quota was distributed.

Livestock units are calculated with reference to the number of animals applied on under the suckler cow premium scheme 2003, ewe premium scheme 2003, special beef premium scheme 2002. The milk quota, off-farm income, every €270 equals one livestock unit, and any acreage used to produce cereal crops are also converted to livestock units.

Using this criteria, all the available quota for category D applicants has been distributed to those applicants who have 22 or fewer livestock units. As the livestock units in respect of the person named are calculated at 67.86, I regret to say that he exceeded the 60 unit limit to enable him to qualify for an allocation and even if he had not exceeded this limit, there is insufficient quota available to allow an allocation to be made to him.

He may consider buying or leasing quota in 2004 — the trading period runs from 2 January 2004 to 30 June 2004. As 2004 will be the final year during which suckler cow quotas will operate, it is expected that the trading value ofquotas will not be as high in 2004 as in previous years.