Agriculture Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (547)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

547. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a decision regarding a review will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9467/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The independent Agriculture Appeals Office has confirmed that a review of the Appeals Officer's decision was requested. A number of requests for review of appeal decisions were received prior to the request concerned. Requests for reviews are generally dealt with in order of receipt. I am advised that it is expected that the review of the case concerned will be completed shortly.

Beef Data and Genomics Programme

Ceisteanna (548)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

548. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payments will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9479/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme 2017 - 2022 provides for six years of payments to farmers for completion of actions which deliver accelerated genetic improvement in the Irish national herd and improvement of its environmental sustainability.

Under the Terms and Conditions of the BDGP, 2014 is the reference year on which payments are based. However in certain limited circumstances where 2014 is not typical of usual farming practice a participant can apply to use 2017 as the reference year. The person named successfully applied to use 2017 as a reference year and my Department is currently verifying the number of cows that calved in these herds during 2017 . Payments will commence shortly subject to verification of compliance with all other BDGP requirements.

Agriculture Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (549)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

549. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of funding allocated to the protein aid scheme for 2018; the level of payment per hectare that will be available to persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9504/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Protein Aid Scheme was introduced as a coupled support in 2015 as part of the implementation of the reformed CAP package in Ireland. This support is allocated from the overall CAP Pillar 1 financial ceiling available to Ireland. Since 2015, €3m has been allocated annually to this scheme. My Department has notified the EU Commission of its intention to allocate €3m for this scheme again in 2018.

Each year, the rate of support payable per hectare is determined by the number of eligible hectares declared in that year. Therefore the rate for 2018 can not be confirmed until all applications are received and processed. In 2017 the rate was fixed at €215 per hectare. 

Departmental Funding

Question No. 551 answered with Question No. 542.

Ceisteanna (550)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

550. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his Department's capital allocation in each of the years 2018 to 2022; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each of those years. [9511/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The allocations set out for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in the National Development Plan for the 2018-2022 period are as follows:

 -

€m

2018

248*

2019

255

2020

258

2021

265

2022

275

* this does not include capital allocation to be carried over from 2017.

The funding will be allocated in the annual estimates process for capital programmes and schemes already in operation, as well as for emerging challenges including those arising from Brexit.

Over the 2018-2022 period the programmes funded will include the following:

- Forestry Programme

- Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme under the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme

- European Maritime & Fisheries Fund Operational Programme 2014-2020

- Investment support for food sector companies , the organic sector and commercial Horticulture

- Investment support for facilities for the Horse and Greyhound Racing industries

In 2021 and 2022 funding will be allocated to the capital schemes envisaged to be operated under the successors to the existing 2014-2020 EU co-funded programmes (RDP and EMFF) and the post 2020 Forestry programme.

In addition to the above multi-project programmes, which support investment by operators across the Agriculture, Food and the Marine sectors, funding will be allocated each year for my Department’s ICT equipment and infrastructure, and Laboratory infrastructure and equipment, for the development of Fisheries Harbours, facilities maintenance and development for Teagasc, Marine Institute, SFPA and BIM, as well as for specific projects with a more limited expenditure timescale.

Question No. 551 answered with Question No. 542.

Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (552)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

552. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if in circumstances in which a young person inherits 30 hectares of hill land which is privately owned and enclosed, they are eligible to entitlement under the young farmer scheme, if they qualify for other schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9577/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

EU Regulation 1307/2013 provides for the establishment of a National Reserve. One of the two mandatory priority categories National Reserve is ‘Young Farmer’. For the purposes of the ‘young farmer’ priority category of the National Reserve a young farmer is defined as follows:

- must be aged 40 or less in the year in which s/he first submits an application under the Basic Payment scheme;

- must be setting up an agricultural holding for the first time in his/her own name or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of the BPS application;

- must have submitted a valid BPS application in the year of application to the National Reserve.

Successful applicants must also hold a recognised agricultural educational qualification at FETAC Level 6 or equivalent and have an off-farm income of not more than €40,000 in either of the two most recent tax years.

Successful applicants under the National Reserve can receive an allocation of new entitlements from the National Reserve on the basis of one entitlement for one hectare at the National Average value of entitlements. Applicants who already hold existing entitlements which are below the national average value can receive a top-up whereby the value of those entitlements will be increased to the national average value.

The Young Farmers Scheme is a separate scheme that provides for an additional payment to young farmers based on eligible activated entitlements.  Payment under the scheme is a flat rate payment issued to eligible applicants and is paid per activated entitlement, subject to a maximum of 50. This scheme operates each year from 2015 to 2019. The definition of a young farmer for the purposes of the Young Farmers Scheme is the same as that which applies to the young farmer priority category of the National Reserve.  While the same agricultural educational qualification requirement also applies, there is no off-farm income threshold applicable under the Young Farmers Scheme.

Both the 2018 National Reserve and the 2018 Young Farmers Scheme are currently open for online applications, with a closing date for receipt of applications of 15th May 2018.

Additional Schemes:

Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme:

Under the Areas of Natural Constrains (ANC) scheme farmers are paid on their lands which are designated as disadvantaged. Payment is made across 4 different land categories each of which is subject to area ceilings.

Applicants to the ANC scheme must, inter alia, maintain a minimum stocking density of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare for 7 consecutive months of the scheme calendar year and also maintain an annual average stocking density of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare for the 12 months of the scheme calendar year. Stocking density requirements can be satisfied by cattle, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys and/or deer.

Under the 2018 ANC scheme the following land categories and payment rates apply. This table takes account of proposed new payment rates to be implemented further to an increased funding allocation of €25 million under ANC 2018. These increases are subject to Commission approval of an amendment of Ireland's Rural Development Programme.

Category

Existing Rate

Proposed New Rate

Mountain 1st 10 ha

€109.72

€135

Mountain ha 11-34

€95.99

€112

More severe

€95.99

€104

Less severe

€82.27

€88.25

Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP):

It is not possible at this point to apply to participate in the BDGP as the closing date has passed.  

Green Low Carbon Emission Scheme (GLAS):

The participation target for GLAS set out in the Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020 has already been achieved. There are no plans to re-open the scheme.

Knowledge Transfer Programme:

The Knowledge Transfer Programme is now closed for applications. However, where the herd number of an approved participant is transferred to a successor, applications from that successor will be considered for entry into the programme.

Sheep Welfare Scheme:

The Sheep Welfare Scheme is a four year scheme.  With the exception of new entrants to sheep farming as defined in the terms and conditions of the scheme, applications for participation in the scheme had to be submitted by the 3rd of February 2017.

The closing date for receipt of applications from new entrants to year 2 of the scheme has now also passed.  For the purposes of year 2 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme, a new entrant was defined as an applicant who has applied for a new herd number from 1st January 2017 and prior to the 31st of December 2017, or an applicant with an existing herd number who has not held or traded in sheep for a two year period up to 31st October preceding the scheme year.

New entrants will be able to apply to participate in year 3 of the scheme when the application process for new entrants is opened, which is expected to be in December 2018.

In general, in order to be eligible to participate in the scheme, applicants must have:

- Have an active DAFM Herd Number, or have applied for same before the closing date of the scheme, and keep breeding ewes.

- Submit a Basic Payment Scheme application for each year of scheme participation, and comply with the requirement to be an active farmer as per Article 9 of EU Regulation 1307/2013.

- Except in the case of new entrants, have submitted Sheep Census returns to the Department in respect of 2014 and 2015 by 31st October 2016.

- Have submitted a 2016 Sheep Census return by the required deadline and must submit a Sheep Census return within the specified timeframe for each year during the lifetime of the scheme (exception for new entrants in year of entry).  

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS):

An on line application can be made for the TAMS Schemes provided that all of the conditions of eligibility of the Schemes are met. Full details of the various TAMS Schemes are available on the Department’s website.

GLAS Applications

Ceisteanna (553)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

553. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payments will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9678/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October 2015 and has received the 2015 payment and the 2016 advance payment.

The Department is aware of an issue with this case that is preventing further payments. The identification of a solution to this issue has been prioritised and it is expected that the payment will be made in the coming weeks.

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme

Ceisteanna (554)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

554. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to introduce a land drainage scheme on a pilot basis for County Leitrim to assist persons who have suffered undue hardship due to flooding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9724/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The budget for the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation scheme (TAMS) is fully committed under our Rural Development programme. Support for land drainage is not included as an eligible item in the current programme.

It must also be recognised that any such measure would require full compliance with environmental requirements including the need for a full Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the entirety of County Leitrim and Appropriate Assessments for any potentially affected Natura Areas. Environmental requirements in any potential measure would be significant as would the challenge of securing European Commission approval. 

However, I would like to draw your attention to the Office of Public Works Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection funding scheme which is in place since 2009, specifically aimed at addressing the issue of minor flood protection interventions. A review of the scheme was conducted in 2017 and a number of improvements to the scheme were announced. Amongst these are the provisions that farm yards/buildings are included as commercial premises in all categories for the first time. The upper financial threshold was also increased significantly from €500,000 to €750,000 per project. More details of the scheme are available from the offices of the OPW.

Animal Culls

Ceisteanna (555)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

555. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the details of the badger tuberculosis vaccination programme; the commencement date and roll-out, by county; the estimated timeframe for same (details supplied); his plans to continue the programme in response to new badger births; if its rollout will see a progressive reduction in badger cull numbers annually; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9824/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under current operating protocols, where herds are identified with a serious outbreak of bovine tuberculosis, and where my Department’s epidemiological investigations into the cause of the breakdown implicates badgers as a possible source, a capturing program is set up in the local area. The aims of the program are to manage the local population of badgers downward to mitigate badger to cattle transmission.  An annual culling effort is managed to ensure these lower density levels are maintained.  The long-term culling of badgers is not ideal or sustainable.  They are protected by national legislation and are listed within the Berne Convention.  Therefore, they are captured under a licence granted to my Department by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 

Field trials testing the effectiveness of badger vaccination as an alternative to removal were conducted from 2014 to 2017 in areas where the wildlife program had been running in excess of 5 years and where local densities of badgers were considered low enough to be suitable candidates for vaccination with BCG.  The findings confirmed that vaccination of badgers can play a role in reducing the level of infection in cattle. 

From January 2018 the formal vaccination programme commenced in the areas which formed part of the field trials, i.e. in parts of counties Monaghan, Longford, Galway, Tipperary, Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork and in all of Louth.  Badgers in a vaccination area will be captured/vaccinated/released instead of being captured/culled.  The vaccination program will continue on an annual basis, so each year’s births in vaccination areas will be vaccinated as they are captured.  The vaccination area will be expanded incrementally to all parts of the country during the 2018-2022 period. I cannot be more specific in terms of a timescale for implementing the vaccination programme on a county by county basis given that capturing of badgers takes place only in areas where serious outbreaks of TB are identified and my Department finds following an epidemiological examination that badgers are the likely source of infection.  In addition, to achieve optimum results, areas under consideration for vaccination must have a low badger density and a cattle population that is testing clear, all of which are taken into account in deciding the way forward with managing TB outbreaks in any given area.

Animal Disease Controls

Ceisteanna (556)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

556. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of compensation paid to farmers to compensate for all animals removed from herds due to disease control in each of the years 2008 to 2017. [9852/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has a comprehensive compensation regime in place for herdowners who are affected by bovine TB, including compensation both for direct and indirect losses.

The primary compensation scheme for farmers whose herds are affected by TB is the On-Farm Market Valuation Scheme under which compensation is payable for cattle removed as reactors. The amount is based on the market value of the animal i.e. the price that might reasonably have been obtained for it, from a purchaser on the open market, if the animal had not been affected by TB. Each reactor is valued by an independent valuer and the Department pays the difference between this valuation and the salvage value, which the farmer receives directly from the slaughter plant.

Herdowners compensated under the On Farm Market Valuation Scheme may also qualify for supplementary payment under the Depopulation, Income Supplement and Hardship Grants Schemes subject to compliance with the relevant criteria.

Compensation for brucellosis (BR) was made in line with above schemes until Ireland became officially BR free in 2009. Some legacy BR payments were paid after 2009.

As the number of reactors has declined so too has the compensation paid to farmers. However there was a significant review of the supplementary schemes in 2016 which has led to an increase spend on those schemes.

Total amounts paid in compensation for the years 2008-2017 are as per attached table:

-

-

Compensation

Schemes

TB reactors declared

TB

BR

TB

BR

2008

29901

€22,848,280.00

€222,856.00

€3,980,883.00

€56,915.00

2009

23805

€18,381,513.00

€190,101.00

€3,804,621.00

€20,373.00

2010

20211

€12,713,239.00

€25,866.00

€3,110,310.00

€3,467.00

2011

18531

€13,770,722.00

€43,666.00

€2,836,740.00

€3,142.00

2012

18476

€14,235,769.00

€5,247.00

€2,398,226.00

€0.00

2013

15612

€10,477,991.00

€14,451.00

€2,191,584.00

€4,000.00

2014

16145

€12,919,369.00

€539.00

€2,306,946.00

€0.00

2015

15317

€11,271,562.00

€750.00

€2,126,664.00

€0.00

2016

16914

€11,261,470.00

€0.00

€2,725,070.00

€0.00

2017

17266

€10,499,663.00

€0.00

€3,544,296.00

€0.00

Animal Welfare

Ceisteanna (557, 558, 559)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

557. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if steps have been taken to resolve the difficulties experienced by vets in treating horses in emergency cases in the absence of passports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9894/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

558. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to address the issue of the abandonment of lower value horses; if other cost-effective measures will be implemented to promote animal welfare in respect of abandoned horses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9895/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

559. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to address the excessive cost of horses being seized and or rescued by State backed welfare organisations which represents a cost of at least €2,000 for each horse [9896/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 557 to 559, inclusive, together.

The Control of Horses Act 1996 provides powers to Local Authorities to deal with stray and abandoned horses and my Department provides funding to support them in their work in this area. Local authorities are asked to make every effort to ensure they are achieving the best value through the public procurement process. My Department's contribution to local authorities has been reducing over the past years from €2.3 million in 2014, €725,000 in 2016 and an amount of €533,839 was paid in 2017, due to the fact that demand and supply of equines has come into line and there have been much greater export opportunities to the continent of Europe in recent years.

This reduced contribution is reflective of a number of other factors including initiatives being progressed in the animal welfare area, including active enforcement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the EU Equine Identification Regulations. The increased emphasis on re-homing of horses is being assisted greatly through my Department's funding to animal welfare organisations. My Department also provides funding to local authorities to support the development of urban/traveller horse projects in their respective areas. These projects focus on education and create awareness on compliance with animal welfare regulations thereby reducing numbers of straying horses. Other measures promoted by my Department to reduce numbers of abandoned horses include assistance provided to welfare organisations to introduce initiatives that facilitate the micro chipping, passporting and castration of stallions at a reduced cost to owners.

It is the responsibility of all horse owners to look after horses in their care or ownership and to dispose of them appropriately. The option for slaughtering for human consumption is available to horses that are compliant with equine identification and meets all ante & post mortem requirements.

In relation to treating of unidentified/undocumented horses by veterinary practitioners, a guidance note for veterinary practitioners has been on the Department's website for some considerable period of time. Veterinary practitioners should contact the Regional Veterinary Office if they require any further clarification.