IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said that the appeals system to deal with the stocking rates on the Disadvantaged Areas must be implemented in a way that allows a prompt assessment and ensuring that payments are not delayed.
With around 8,000 letters being issued to farmers this week IFA is urging the Minister of Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to ensure that all farmers who are due Disadvantaged Area payments get paid in the third week of September and nobody must be held up as a result of the changes he has introduced in the 2012 scheme. IFA is urging farmers to respond to the Department of Agriculture well in advance of the 24th of August deadline so that appeals can commence immediately.
Flor McCarthy said that farmers who farm under commonage framework plans, as well as those in agri-environment plans such as REPS, AEOS, NPWS, Farm Plan Scheme should respond to the Department of Agriculture’s letter as they are exempt from the retrospective 0.3lu/ha stocking rate for 2011. In addition farmers who are on marginal land and who met last year’s criteria of 0.15lu/ha over 3 months must be eligible for this year’s scheme.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman also pointed out that the appeals system caters for new entrants and farmers who due to ill health or animal disease on their farm could not meet either last year or this year’s stocking rate criteria.
Concluding Flor McCarthy said that it was important that in the difficult year farmers are now experiencing due to poor weather that the vast majority of farmers are eligible for the Disadvantaged Areas scheme in 2012.