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Nitrates laws more stringent than REPS standards

farming

By Ray Ryan, Agribusiness Correspondent
FOR the past nine years Richard Connell has been farming at Gurtyowen, near Goleen in west Cork, to the highest European Union environmental standards.

He is one of nearly 50,000 Irish farmers who participate in the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS). Participants are rewarded for farming to a nutrient management plan.

Mr Connell won the RDS National Conservation Award in 2000 and Teagasc have brought people to his dairy farm to demonstrate how he runs his enterprise.

But the European Union nitrate laws, which aim to protect water from agricultural pollution, are even more stringent than those under which he presently works.

Farmers operating to their current standards may be in breach of the new regulations, if these are enforced in their present form, and could face a fine of up to €3,000 or imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of €100 a day for each day a breach is continued.

Mr Connell explained in a letter to this newspaper that the chemical nitrogen levels allowed under REPS are substantially greater than what is included in the nitrates directive.

"Research shows that nitrogen levels used in a REPS situation are causing no harm to the water quality in this country. Still, the injustice continues," said Mr Connell, who has a chemical nitrates level of 32 tonnes (27.5% N). Under the regulations his limit will be 21 tonnes.

"This farm will be impossible to operate at these levels. Farmers not in REPS, but with the same stocking density are in a similar situation and will not be able to sustain a living at this level."

Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan has tried to ease farmers’ fears by saying they need not be frightened of the regulations. They are not going to be forced out of business left, right and centre.

"They are not going to be forced to operate at uneconomic levels of fertilisation. They are not going to be hounded under the single payment scheme or tormented with extra inspections," she said.

Ms Coughlan said the Government is committed to helping farmers meet the challenge of the directive by providing information, improved financial assistance and tax relief.

The regulations giving it effect in Ireland came into force on February 1, except for a part dealing with phosphorus limits. Environment Minister Dick Roche deferred the phosphorus element pending a review by Teagasc scientists.

That review is now completed and will come before today’s Teagasc Authority meeting. A vote of no confidence in director Jim Flanagan is also on the agenda.

 

Nitrates laws more stringent than REPS standards

farming

By Ray Ryan, Agribusiness Correspondent
FOR the past nine years Richard Connell has been farming at Gurtyowen, near Goleen in west Cork, to the highest European Union environmental standards.

He is one of nearly 50,000 Irish farmers who participate in the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS). Participants are rewarded for farming to a nutrient management plan.

Mr Connell won the RDS National Conservation Award in 2000 and Teagasc have brought people to his dairy farm to demonstrate how he runs his enterprise.

But the European Union nitrate laws, which aim to protect water from agricultural pollution, are even more stringent than those under which he presently works.

Farmers operating to their current standards may be in breach of the new regulations, if these are enforced in their present form, and could face a fine of up to €3,000 or imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of €100 a day for each day a breach is continued.

Mr Connell explained in a letter to this newspaper that the chemical nitrogen levels allowed under REPS are substantially greater than what is included in the nitrates directive.

"Research shows that nitrogen levels used in a REPS situation are causing no harm to the water quality in this country. Still, the injustice continues," said Mr Connell, who has a chemical nitrates level of 32 tonnes (27.5% N). Under the regulations his limit will be 21 tonnes.

"This farm will be impossible to operate at these levels. Farmers not in REPS, but with the same stocking density are in a similar situation and will not be able to sustain a living at this level."

Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan has tried to ease farmers’ fears by saying they need not be frightened of the regulations. They are not going to be forced out of business left, right and centre.

"They are not going to be forced to operate at uneconomic levels of fertilisation. They are not going to be hounded under the single payment scheme or tormented with extra inspections," she said.

Ms Coughlan said the Government is committed to helping farmers meet the challenge of the directive by providing information, improved financial assistance and tax relief.

The regulations giving it effect in Ireland came into force on February 1, except for a part dealing with phosphorus limits. Environment Minister Dick Roche deferred the phosphorus element pending a review by Teagasc scientists.

That review is now completed and will come before today’s Teagasc Authority meeting. A vote of no confidence in director Jim Flanagan is also on the agenda.

 

Nitrates laws more stringent than REPS standards

farming

By Ray Ryan, Agribusiness Correspondent
FOR the past nine years Richard Connell has been farming at Gurtyowen, near Goleen in west Cork, to the highest European Union environmental standards.

He is one of nearly 50,000 Irish farmers who participate in the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS). Participants are rewarded for farming to a nutrient management plan.

Mr Connell won the RDS National Conservation Award in 2000 and Teagasc have brought people to his dairy farm to demonstrate how he runs his enterprise.

But the European Union nitrate laws, which aim to protect water from agricultural pollution, are even more stringent than those under which he presently works.

Farmers operating to their current standards may be in breach of the new regulations, if these are enforced in their present form, and could face a fine of up to €3,000 or imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of €100 a day for each day a breach is continued.

Mr Connell explained in a letter to this newspaper that the chemical nitrogen levels allowed under REPS are substantially greater than what is included in the nitrates directive.

"Research shows that nitrogen levels used in a REPS situation are causing no harm to the water quality in this country. Still, the injustice continues," said Mr Connell, who has a chemical nitrates level of 32 tonnes (27.5% N). Under the regulations his limit will be 21 tonnes.

"This farm will be impossible to operate at these levels. Farmers not in REPS, but with the same stocking density are in a similar situation and will not be able to sustain a living at this level."

Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan has tried to ease farmers’ fears by saying they need not be frightened of the regulations. They are not going to be forced out of business left, right and centre.

"They are not going to be forced to operate at uneconomic levels of fertilisation. They are not going to be hounded under the single payment scheme or tormented with extra inspections," she said.

Ms Coughlan said the Government is committed to helping farmers meet the challenge of the directive by providing information, improved financial assistance and tax relief.

The regulations giving it effect in Ireland came into force on February 1, except for a part dealing with phosphorus limits. Environment Minister Dick Roche deferred the phosphorus element pending a review by Teagasc scientists.

That review is now completed and will come before today’s Teagasc Authority meeting. A vote of no confidence in director Jim Flanagan is also on the agenda.

 

Nitrates laws more stringent than REPS standards

farming

By Ray Ryan, Agribusiness Correspondent
FOR the past nine years Richard Connell has been farming at Gurtyowen, near Goleen in west Cork, to the highest European Union environmental standards.

He is one of nearly 50,000 Irish farmers who participate in the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS). Participants are rewarded for farming to a nutrient management plan.

Mr Connell won the RDS National Conservation Award in 2000 and Teagasc have brought people to his dairy farm to demonstrate how he runs his enterprise.

But the European Union nitrate laws, which aim to protect water from agricultural pollution, are even more stringent than those under which he presently works.

Farmers operating to their current standards may be in breach of the new regulations, if these are enforced in their present form, and could face a fine of up to €3,000 or imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of €100 a day for each day a breach is continued.

Mr Connell explained in a letter to this newspaper that the chemical nitrogen levels allowed under REPS are substantially greater than what is included in the nitrates directive.

"Research shows that nitrogen levels used in a REPS situation are causing no harm to the water quality in this country. Still, the injustice continues," said Mr Connell, who has a chemical nitrates level of 32 tonnes (27.5% N). Under the regulations his limit will be 21 tonnes.

"This farm will be impossible to operate at these levels. Farmers not in REPS, but with the same stocking density are in a similar situation and will not be able to sustain a living at this level."

Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan has tried to ease farmers’ fears by saying they need not be frightened of the regulations. They are not going to be forced out of business left, right and centre.

"They are not going to be forced to operate at uneconomic levels of fertilisation. They are not going to be hounded under the single payment scheme or tormented with extra inspections," she said.

Ms Coughlan said the Government is committed to helping farmers meet the challenge of the directive by providing information, improved financial assistance and tax relief.

The regulations giving it effect in Ireland came into force on February 1, except for a part dealing with phosphorus limits. Environment Minister Dick Roche deferred the phosphorus element pending a review by Teagasc scientists.

That review is now completed and will come before today’s Teagasc Authority meeting. A vote of no confidence in director Jim Flanagan is also on the agenda.