Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 13 December 2017

New entrant quota and training plan for dairying

Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney
Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Almost €1m has been allocated to the training of new entrants into the dairy sector over the coming five years.

Billed as the Cash Plan 2014 programme, farmers that started milking after April 1 2008 will be entitled to training on financial management.

The course will be delivered through dairy discussion group facilitators.

The minister has also created a loophole to allow farmers who begin calving the first of their cows before the end of quotas in April 2015 to supply milk to their local co-ops.

In order to allow dairy processors to accept their milk, the minister is planning to grant a nominal milk quota allocation of 100l to such new entrants.

The operational details of the allocation will be released soon, but it will only be open to those who can demonstrate a supply agreement with a registered milk purchaser.

"This ensures that they are not at a perpetual disadvantage with regard to their breeding plans for future years," said Minister Coveney.

Another feature of Minister Coveney's €100m knowledge transfer fund is an annual payment of €750 to every farmer that joins a discussion group from next year.

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However, farmers who are already participating in discussion groups will be excluded from the payment, unless they accept a minimum number of new members into the group, according to a spokesman from the ICMSA.

He claimed that there are even bigger barriers for farmers who are members of existing discussion groups that have more than 20 members.

Eject

Following a meeting with the Department of Agriculture last week, the farm organisation claimed established discussion groups that had more members than the quota targeted by Department officials would face having to eject current members and accept new ones in order to qualify for the payment.

"The Department still has to decide whether the limit on group membership will be set at 15 or 20, but any groups above this level would automatically be excluded from qualifying for the payment," he said.

Agricultural advisors will be required to tender for contracts to facilitate groups in their areas, which would then be subjected to spot-checks to ensure compliance.

Among the measures that farmers will be required to complete in order to qualify for the recently announced payment are a carbon navigator, an animal health plan, a profit monitor and a detailed farm safety statement.

Membership of a discussion group will also earn farmers extra points when applying for grants under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS).

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