Minister pressed to kick-start schemes
Farmer bodies have urged the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith to announce start dates for the Dairy Hygiene and Water Harvesting Schemes.
The IFA rural development chairman, Tom Turley, said EU funding has been provided for these measures.
"With the Sheep Handling and Fencing Scheme due to start in November, farmers will be anxious to see the other schemes up and running. Priority must be given to farmers who were locked out of the Farm Improvement Scheme in 2007," Mr Turley said.
Meanwhile, John Comer, ICMSA vice-president and chairperson of the association's farm services and environment committee, has met with Department officials on the question of the introduction of the investment schemes.
Mr Comer expressed concern that proposals appeared to restrict entry based on age and location of the applicant.
He said it was unacceptable that the Department would discriminate against full-time farmers whose livelihoods depended on the family farm income and ability to upgrade their farm enterprise with the assistance of grant aid.