DAS payments slashed by 90pc
Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) payments to farmers have been slashed by up to 90pc as a result of the Department of Agriculture's changes to the 2012 payment rules.
In one case, a Co Limerick farmer had his DAS payment cut from €860 last year to just €85 in 2012 because his main holding was not in a DAS area.
Gerald Quain's main farmyard at Colmanswell, Ballyagran, is less than a mile from his outfarm at Effin, Kilmallock, but because his disadvantaged land is in Effin, his DAS payment was reduced by 90pc.
Cuts of between 33pc and 95pc of 2012 DAS payments have been applied to many DAS applications because the farmers' main holdings are located in non-disadvantaged areas.
ICMSA beef chairman Michael Guinan said the new rule was a direct hit on active farmers who need to be supported.
"Under this rule, farmers whose main holding is in a non-disadvantaged area see their DAS payment cut by the percentage of their total holding in the non-disadvantaged area. This is both unfair and unacceptable given that if land has been designated disadvantaged, it should get the same level of payment irrespective of the amount of land a farmer has in a non-disadvantaged area," he insisted.
Some €159m in DAS payments have been issued to farmers since last week.
Of the 9,300 farmers who applied for a derogation from the stocking rate rules, some 3,750 have been accepted and around 1,000 farmers were refused. Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture officials have written to 950 farmers seeking more information.