• Today, Ballindine native Pippa Hackett becomes the Green Party's only senator as she enters Leinster House.

    The Green Party's spokesperson on agriculture lives on a farm outside Geashill, Co Offaly.

    Ms Hackett and her husband, Mark, run a mixed organic farm with suckler cows, sheep, hens and horses.

    In May she became the first Green councillor on Offaly County Council. She takes up the Seanad seat vacated by the Greens' Grace O'Sullivan, who was elected as an MEP.

    Ms Hackett was elected unopposed on Friday last, as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil decided not to contest the by-election in a gesture to the Greens.

    Pippa Hackett says her primary focus is on the future of farming.

    She says the focus has to be the quality of the food being produced.

  • Officers of Mayo IFA and IFAC Accountants met with representatives of the Mayo Motor Tax Office in Castlebar last week to try and get some clarification of the registration of commercial vehicles for agricultural use.

    The delegation included Chairman of Mayo IFA Martin Gilvarry, Roy O’Brien of the IFA Regional Executive and Martin Clarke from IFAC Accountants in Balla.

    Following discussions agreement was reached on the text covering the registration of such vehicles.

    A farmer and herd owner for bovine and/or sheep, you may submit documentary evidence from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine showing your name, address and herd number. The document must be less than 2 years old.

    Sheep farmers must submit proof of payment from the Department for a minimum flock size of 20 sheep.

    Alternatively proof of payment from the Department under the Basic Payment Scheme, Areas of Natural Constraint, GLAS or Organic Farming Scheme will suffice.

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced details in relation to the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme for 2019.

    The ANC Scheme (previously referred to as the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and the Less Favoured Areas Scheme) has been a vital support for farmers in Ireland since the 1970s.  In 2019, EU Regulations require that all Member States change their approach to designating townlands that are eligible for support under the Scheme.  This new approach is based on identifying townlands that are considered to be constrained by reference to a range of bio physical criteria set out at EU level.

    For the vast majority of farmers, the townlands they farm which have been eligible up to now will remain eligible under the new Scheme.  In total, c. 98% of currently eligible townlands will remain eligible under the new Scheme.  In addition, over 2,000 townlands will now also have eligible land under the Scheme for the first time in 2019.

    The Minister said “given the importance of the ANC scheme, I am now engaging in consultation with stakeholder groups in relation to finalising the design of the new ANC Scheme for 2019.  In addition to the extra €25m provided for the Scheme in 2018, a further €23m will now be added to the Scheme in 2019 and the details of the allocation of this money will form part of discussions with stakeholder groups.  The aim of this process is to ensure that a new Scheme is in place and clearly communicated to farmers in advance of the opening of the application process in 2019.”

    The Minister also outlined that there will be an appeals process in place to deal with queries from farmers in the small number of townlands that are no longer eligible under the new Scheme in 2019.  This appeals committee will be set up with an independent chairman, and will ensure clarity for all farmers affected by changes to the Scheme. 

    For farmers who wish to confirm that the townlands in which they are farming are eligible for support under the 2019 Scheme, a full list of eligible townlands organised on a county basis is available here.   A map showing the eligible areas for 2019 is also available on the website, along with a Question and Answers document for farmers.

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has confirmed the introduction of some temporary adjustments to the GLAS scheme for this year in response to the current fodder shortages. The measures are being introduced with effect from tomorrow, Saturday 1st September.

    Minister Creed commented; “These flexibilities have the potential to add to the quantities of winter fodder available by bringing over 260,000 additional hectares into fodder production.

    Details of the measures are being communicated today to the GLAS participants involved and their Advisors. GLAS participants wishing to proceed with these may do so from tomorrow, Saturday 1st September and do not need to contact the Department in advance of doing so.

  • The average price of agricultural land in Mayo is at a five year low according to the Irish Farmers Journal.

    In 2018 prices fell by 6.6% in County Mayo, which makes it the second cheapest land market in Ireland, behind Leitrim and just ahead of Roscommon and Clare.

    This is the lowest price land has been in Mayo since 2013.

    Supply was well down in Mayo last year, to the tune of 53.6%. In total 3,454 acres was offered in Mayo, down from 5,176 acres in 2017.