New stocking requirements in the Disadvantaged Area Scheme have forced farmers to buy livestock for land which is in poor condition due to bad weather, leaving many farmers under financial strain, according to Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Agriculture Éamon Ó Cuív.
He asked Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to drop the new requirements, and introduce a feed subsidy scheme in farming areas worst affected by weather.
“Farming by its nature is an uncertain business and farmers normally accept the ups and downs of farming as a matter of course. However, every now and again a ‘perfect storm’ occurs and when this happens it is necessary for the Government to take swift and comprehensive action. This summer is one of those occasions and by acting now the Government can prevent a disaster in the farming community,” said Mr Ó Cuív.
He also called for low interest loans to farmers to enable them hold livestock and buy feed, and that 70% of the Single Payment be paid in advance, rather than the 50% already granted by the EU.
“The minister should direct his officials in An Bord Bia to engage with the exporters of both live cattle and the meat trade to expand the outlets for livestock to meet the likely heavy sales of cattle this autumn,” said Mr Ó Cuív.
He said the minister should immediately re-open the AEOS scheme on the same basis as previously, and ensure that the weather is taken into account by inspectors checking compliance with farm schemes.
He also called for farmers to be informed immediately how much they owe in 2011 milk superlevy penalties, as this would allow co-ops pay out some money held back from over-quota farmers.
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