The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, has announced an extension to tomorrow’s deadline for receipt of GLAS applications.  Farmers and their advisors will now have until midnight Tuesday 26 May to submit their completed applications.

The Minister said that the level of interest in the new scheme was unprecedented, with over 34,000 applications logged to date and 18,000 applications already submitted.  Another 10,000 have selected actions and begun the process of drawing up farm plans, suggesting that these too are intending to submit an application.  This being the case, the Minister said that he wanted to give as many of those as possible the opportunity to do so, and therefore he had decided to extend the closing date.  This will allow advisors more time to finalise those plans.

“I am delighted with the reaction to the new scheme,” Minister Coveney said.  ‘It seems very likely that our earlier predictions of some 25,000 applications will be fulfilled or even exceeded, and this is great news for Irish farmers and for the rural environment’.

The Minister stressed that there could be no further extension after Tuesday, pointing out that the closing date for the Basic Payment Scheme (29 May) was also looming and he wanted to ensure that advisors had time to process applications for that as well.

Book your ad position early – 2016 Farmers Handbook

Good Morning,

We are currently securing advertising positions in The Farmers Handbook 2016. It may interest you  to advertise your business in this year’s Handbook as with the new Agricultural Schemes and the constantly changing sector the handbook will become every Farmers ‘Gideon’. If  you are interested in this publication and would like to be apart of the 2016 Edition (publication date – early November 2015) please do not hesitate to contact me (051-640397) to book your position, discuss our rates and any others queries you may have.
Angela Casey ,The Farmers Handbook, Bank House ,Main Street ,Carrick on Suir, Co Tipperary Tel: 051-640397 Fax: 051-640932 Email: Website: Follow us on Facebook:



The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, today drew attention to the need for everyone working in the Farming and Fishing industries to take all safety precautions during the current adverse weather conditions.


The Minister indicated that ‘Met Éireann has issued a number of ‘Status Orange’ warnings in the last number of days and the status has now been upgraded to Red identifying the need to be prepared for adverse weather’.  The Minister added, “It is important that the agriculture and fishing industries take every precaution to avoid risk of injury or worse during this period”.  With storm force winds forecast, people need to exercise caution in exposed coastal areas and have full regard to local weather warnings before venturing to sea. Very cold conditions are also forecast to continue over the coming days and into next week.


Whilst we have not experienced the same number of winter storms as last year, it is important that we are prepared by taking adequate precautions.  Ensuring salt is available to reduce the risk of falls and trips on frosty ground and adequately securing items easily caught by high wind such as shed doors are just some of the ways of reducing the risk of accident.


He added that “2014 proved to be the worst year for farm accidents since 1992 with 30 deaths reported, while tragic incidents in our fishing industry in recent years resulted in the sad loss of many lives. It is important that these appalling figures focus our minds in respect of farm and fishery safety this year and particularly during adverse weather”.

The Minister also drew attention to the BE WINTER-READY campaign and encouraged everyone to check out the valuable information provided at the following website

This website provides useful information on being prepared for difficult winter weather.






After a day of meetings with key political figures in China, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney T.D. announced a major step forward for Irish beef access in China. The Minister , who this week is leading the largest ever Irish agri-food trade mission to China, announced the breakthrough after bilateral  meetings this morning in Beijing with the Chinese Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Han Changfu)and the Chinese Minister responsible for market access (Mr. Zhi Shuping).


The Minister commented “I am delighted to have secured agreement from my Chinese counterpart to send a formal inspection team to Ireland in December. This follows intensive technical engagement between my Department and the relevant Chinese Authorities over the past two years. The question of beef access has also been raised at the highest political levels, and I am delighted that we were in a position to advance this process during my visit to China.”


The Chinese visit will include full systems and plant audits of all aspects of the beef inspection system in Ireland. The Minister added “this announcement is a breakthrough, and builds on my first visit here two years ago and the subsequent progress in the joint working group between both sides. While we must respect the Chinese process of technical evaluation, I am delighted that we have moved to this stage and that we have the opportunity to prove first hand, our credentials as a safe secure supplier of world class beef. Demand for beef in China is expected to rise by 1m tonnes over the next five years, and I am determined that Irish farmers and processors should have access to this critically important market. Beef access to the Chinese market is a huge prize and my Department and the beef industry will now work to ensure that that inspection visit is successful”.

The Minister also announced a number of other important milestones for the Irish meat sector including a key first step in securing access for Irish sheepmeat. He also raised the question of access for Irish poultry meat.


Commenting, the Minister said “I was delighted to formally submit to AQSIQ the questionnaire marking the first step in securing access for Irish sheepmeat to China. Obtaining the green light from China to move to this stage represents an important milestone, and with growing Chinese demand for high quality lamb I believe Irish producers are well placed to take advantage of the market opportunity if we can progress this quickly”.


In other developments, Minister Coveney announced that he has signed an agreement with his Chinese counterparts for a pilot electronic certification system for the dairy sector. Irish dairy exports to China were worth over 270m in 2014 and the new agreement means that the certification of these products will be much more efficient under the new electronic system. Agreement on the development of this system also marks Ireland out as only the third Country in the world to secure agreement on the development of such a system with China.


The Minister also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Minister Zhi Shuping of the Chinese Quarantine and Inspection Service, on the safety of fisheries products. Speaking after the signing, the Minister said that he was confident that this memorandum would lay the foundations for a smoother process for the importation of Irish aquatic products to lucrative Chinese markets.


The focus shifts to dairy tomorrow, when the Minister will host a major seminar with key players in the Chinese and Irish dairy sectors in Beijing


China Trade Mission



aca logo



Budget 2015 & The Agri-Taxtion Review Report


The Agricultural Consultants Association wholeheartedly welcomes the recommendations of the Agri-Taxation Working Group in their Agri-Taxation Review as presented to the Ministers for Finance & Agriculture. The Association would also like to compliment both Ministers for their prompt response to the report findings by incorporating 12 of the overall package of 25 recommended measures in the 2015 Budget.

The Association views the Agri-Taxation Review recommendations and in particular those recommendations included in the Budget as being a positive step forward towards increasing land mobility and the constructive use of land as well as providing a much needed stimulus towards farm succession. The Association is particularly pleased that a significant number of items contained in its submission to the Review Group are included in the 25 recommendations. ACA’s recommendations on the inclusion of limited companies as being eligible tenants for lessors seeking the land lease tax exemption along with whole farm replacement qualifying under the Capital Gains Tax farm restructuring provisions are included in this year’s budget. ACA’s proposal for extending Income Averaging to forest clear-felling profits will be examined with a view to implementation in Budget 2016.

The overall package of budget measures coupled with the Agri-Taxation Review group’s recommendations are steps in the right direction but many more innovative actions will be required to realise the true potential of Irish agriculture. ACA is now urging the Government to carry out a review on the provision of farm advice and how best to structure an effective service suited to a changing industry.



The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD has today announced a restructuring of the investigations capability of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as part of an on-going modernisation of the structures of his Department and as part of the wider public service reform process .


Speaking on the announcement the Minister said “following a recent review of the governance structure around the conduct of all investigations by my Department which began earlier this year, I decided there was a need for the establishment of a new Investigations Division”.


Minister Coveney added “I was determined to have in place a strong, cohesive, consolidated and effective investigation capability to ensure and protect the reputation of the expanding Agri-food industry and indeed public funds”.


The new arrangement brings all investigation capability, both internal and external, into one Division.  It is headed by a Senior Superintending Veterinary Officer, supported by a team of investigators, some of whom are core members of the team and others to be drawn from areas where their expertise will be beneficial to the conduct of particular types of investigations.


The new Investigations Division reports to an Investigations Steering Group chaired by the Assistant Secretary General responsible for Corporate Affairs and will comprise the Chief Veterinary Officer, the Assistant Secretary General with responsibility for direct payments, and the Heads of Legal Services, Internal Audit and HR.


This group will, in all new cases, determine whether matters should be referred back to the relevant inspection areas of the Department for follow through, whether an investigation is warranted and if so, whether this should be conducted by the Investigations Division or referred to the Garda Siochana. Where investigations are being conducted internally, the Steering Group will oversee the conduct of investigations and, in conjunction with the Head of the Division, determine whether the submission of cases for prosecution is warranted.  This new Investigations Division includes the functions previously undertaken by the Special Investigations Unit.


My Department seeks to promote the highest levels of legal compliance to protect the health of consumers and to promote and sustain a vibrant Agri-food industry in Ireland. This is vital to Ireland’s reputation internationally. In altering the inspection capability in the manner outlined I am in fact enhancing our capacity to protect Ireland’s international reputation whilst also providing for enhanced governance arrangements in respect of when and how investigations are carried out”  the Minister added.


Concluding, the Minister said, “I want to formally acknowledge the dedication and commitment of the staff of my Department who carry out investigations in sometimes very challenging circumstances, a fact I experienced first-hand last year when dealing with the equine DNA investigation which was conducted by my officers in a highly pressurised environment where their focus and sense of purpose was highly visible and extremely successful”.