21st August, 2012
President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, Gabriel Gilmartin, has welcomed the decision by the Minister for Agriculture to extend the deadline for derogation applications under the 2012 Disadvantaged Area Scheme. “Today’s announcement means farmers now have the chance to properly digest the changes to the scheme, and figure out whether they may be entitled to a derogation from the increased stocking density requirements. ICSA had argued that the previous deadline of August 24th was too soon, given that farmers only received notification of the changes last week, so it is certainly a relief that the Department has granted the extension.”
Changes to the 2012 DAS have recently been approved by the EU Commission, which include a retrospective requirement to have had a stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per hectare for three consecutive months in 2011 – an increase from the previous rate of 0.15 livestock units per hectare. Anyone who does not meet the new requirement can apply for a derogation. Minister Coveney has announced that the closing date for the receipt of applications for derogations under the scheme is being extended for one week, until Friday, 31st of August 2012. According to the Department of Agriculture, around 10,000 farmers have received letters in recent days informing them of the changes and that they can apply for a special derogation from the new requirements.
Mr. Gilmartin urged farmers to carefully examine the new terms and conditions of the 2012 Disadvantaged Area Scheme. “This payment is hugely important for farmers on poorer land, particularly this year given the tough conditions being faced by farmers, so it is of utmost importance that you state your case and make the application for a derogation if necessary.”