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

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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.
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Speaking today in advance of a meeting between the Commonage Implementation Committee and the farm bodies, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, announced that a number of important decisions had been reached in relation to commonages.


Minister Coveney said “I believe that a lot of progress has been made and the forthcoming series of meetings will help to reassure Commonage farmers and provide the clarity they have been seeking”.


With respect to Pillar 1, the Basic Payment Scheme, the Minister said that there will be a maintenance grazing requirement for marginal lands.  This will be equivalent to one ewe per 1.5 hectares, to be met by all claimants by end December 2015. A lower level will apply where this can be justified on environmental grounds. Above that maintenance level, the management of the grazing requirement is a matter for the individual claimants, provided that the commonage is kept in good condition and meets all the requirements for the Basic Payment Scheme.


For Pillar 2, the Minister repeated that the only requirement for commonage farmers joining was that 50% of the active farmers would sign up to a GLAS commonage plan or sufficient farmers to bring in at least 50% of the land.  He also said that small commonages of less than ten hectares in size would not be subject to any minimum participation requirement.  Farmers on these commonages would be able to apply for GLAS in their own right.


In a significant development, the Minister announced that there would be no imposition of minimum or maximum stocking densities for commonages. Instead, the Department would provide these figures as a guidance to help frame the new GLAS Plans. It will be open to the shareholders through their planner to propose different stocking densities in their Plans, if they believe these can be sustained. There would be substantial flexibility granted to the shareholders joining GLAS as regards the management of the grazing requirement.  Provided an individual minimum grazing requirement is met by each of the participants, it will be open to the shareholders, acting together, to manage any additional grazing needs themselves. Over the course of the GLAS plan, there would be a gradual progression towards meeting the optimal grazing level for the commonage.


For those farmers operating under a GLAS Commonage Management Plan, the Minister stated that where non-compliance could be clearly attributed to an individual participant, penalties would be applied to that person only.  The rate of aid for commonage under GLAS remains at €120 per hectare. Commonage farmers with more than one priority asset will be eligible for the increased GLAS+ payment of up to €7,000.


The Minister also announced that in the coming weeks there will be a series of regional Information meetings for commonage farmers in a number of key locations, including Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Wicklow. The Department will also be hosting National Workshops for the benefit of planners, outlining details of eligibility requirements for both the new Basic Payment Scheme and GLAS, including commonages.  These will be followed up with specific GLAS training sessions for planners.


Minister Coveney welcomes the opening of the market IN VIETNAM to exports of PIGMEAT from Ireland



Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today welcomed the agreement reached with the veterinary authorities in Vietnam to allow for the importation of fresh and frozen pork meat from Ireland.


The Minister commented “this agreement provides the Irish pigmeat sector with a vital foothold in this key market. Vietnam is an important market in South East Asia with a growing population and there are good prospects for Irish meat exports both in the short and long term. I am hopeful that the decision of the Vietnamese authorities will also have a positive effect on our efforts to gain access to other markets in the region”.


The Minister concluded that “this announcement marks an important measure of success in our strategy to open third country markets for Irish food. Just as with the agreement reached with the Philippines last month, it is important that Irish industry has alternative outlets for its produce, along with the real potential for expansion. In circumstances where there have been difficulties with the Russian market since the start of the year, it is vital that Irish companies have access to as many markets worldwide as possible. My Department is of course continuing to work closely with European partners to try to restore the trade in pigmeat with Russia. In the meantime we will continue to prioritise the opening of new third country markets for Irish agri food products, working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Bord Bia to provide new market opportunities for Irish companies. .”


Access to the Vietnamese market has been identified as a priority target by the Irish pigmeat industry. The Minister confirmed that this agreement was concluded after a concerted technical and diplomatic effort by his department, in conjunction with the Irish Embassy in Vietnam and the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the National Agro-Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD). The agreement means that a total of five Irish pig processing establishments have been accredited to produce pork for export to Vietnam, while another establishment has been approved for cutting. A veterinary health certificates has also been agreed.










Responding to a Russian announcement of trade sanctions against EU and other countries in the agri-food sector, Minister Simon Coveney TD said that “this move is obviously unwelcome from an Irish and broader EU perspective, but we cannot say it was totally unanticipated, given the recent evolution of events.  My Department are currently working to clarify the specific details of the ban. The impact on Ireland will depend both on the products covered by the ban and any knock-on effects on international market prices as banned product seeks replacement markets.


Whilst Ireland’s agri-food export trade with Russia represents less than 2.5% of total agri-food export, this very much belies the importance of this market in terms of its future potential. The obvious preference is for a normalisation of trade relations but these issues cannot be viewed without taking into account the overall political context. ”


To assist companies exporting to Russia, I have asked Bord Bia to establish an advice line, which will make the most up to date information available to these companies” the Minister said.  Bord Bia’s dedicated support unit will assist companies with regard to the trading situation with Russia and help in progressing such opportunities . The dedicated  unit may be contacted on 01 6142 292.


While work is continuing to determine exactly what products are covered by the ban, the Minister noted that initial indications were that casein, infant formula and tea extract are not being banned.  Casein accounted for €11.3 m of Ireland’s €17.8m dairy exports to Russia in 2013.  Russia’s ban, as announced, will have a duration of one year and will cover imports into Russia of meat, fish, milk and milk products, fruit and vegetables from the European Union. Other countries affected include the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.


“My Department will maintain an ongoing assessment of the situation, where intensive engagement is already ongoing with Russian authorities regarding agri-trade issues including temporary restrictions already in place on certain exports in specific sectors.” the Minister concluded.






Ireland has moved into an over quota position

Minister Coveney Signals that Ireland has moved into an over quota position at End-September

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced that total volume of milk supplies up to the end of September 2013, taking into account the relevant butterfat adjustment, leave Ireland 0.42% over quota – the first time our supply has exceeded quota this year. This compares to a position at the same point last year when Ireland was 2.14% under quota.
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Hayes Awards

Hayes Presents Awards to Members of the association of Landscaping Contractors of Ireland

Tom Hayes, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine presented the Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland (ALCI) Awards today at a function in Dublin.

The ALCI Awards celebrate and recognise outstanding work carried out by the Association’s members North and South and span all sectors of the Irish landscaping industry from small private gardens to sports ground construction and large scale maintenance contracts. The Awards are judged by independent panels in both ALCI regions.
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