Minister Creed

  • The Agriculture Minister is urging "continued constructive dialogue" between those involved in the ongoing beef sector dispute.

    Michael Creed's comments come after progress was made following discussions yesterday.

    Developments were made on market transparency and the introduction of a price index, according to the Irish Farmer's Association.

    Despite twelve hours of talks at the Department of Agriculture, further talks are expected on Thursday or next Monday.

    Pat O'Toole from the Irish Farmers Journal says it is in farmers interests to see things through so a deal can be reached.

  • The Agriculture Minister needs to introduce a meal voucher scheme for farmers in the West and Northwest who are suffering due to the fodder shortage.

    That’s according to Sligo-Leitrim TD Eamon Scanlon who claims some farmers are going hungry themselves to ensure they can feed their stock.

    He believes the Fodder Transport subsidy announced earlier this year by Minister Michael Creed is not benefitting the majority of farmers impacted by the fodder shortage, whereas a meal voucher scheme would help farmers buy feed to supplement what fodder supplies they still have.

    Deputy Eamon Scanlon told Midwest News that he received a number of calls from farmers across the region in recent weeks who are suffering severe hardship as they try to provide fodder for their stock

  • Minister Creed needs to immediately review the situation where commonage farmers in Achill are having their payments delayed because of a fire that occurred on the mountain on the island last summer.

    Achill based Fianna Fail councillor Paul McNamara made the appeal at the monthly meeting of Mayo county council  this week attended by Minister of State John Paul Phelan.

    He described the impact on farmers having their payments held up or withdrawn, when a fire occurs on commonage that is open and accessible to the general public.

    In one case on Achill there is a 17,000 acres of unfenced commonage held by more than 500 shareholders and with about 200 active farmers and these farmers are told that if there is 20 percent burning of the commonage then all their payments will be withheld.

    But he argued, those farmers cannot be responsible for what they simply can’t control.

  • The deadline for the use of chemical and organic fertilisers by farmers has been extended.

    Fodder levels are at critically low level heading into the winter months following the recent drought conditions, with the IFA stating that a further 10 million bales were needed to meet demand.

    The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, made the announcement at the opening of the Tullamore Show in Offaly today.

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has given an update in relation to online applications for the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

    The Minister says “Online applications offer a range of benefits for farmers and also help the Department to issue these vital payments more efficiently. He said he is delighted to see that a large number of farmers have already applied online since I announced the early opening of the 2018 application period.  Almost 35,000 farmers have already made their online applications, compared to a total of just 21,000 applications received at this stage last year.”

    The Minister added “In order to support farmers in applying online, the Department has been rolling out a range of technical supports for farmers. This will ensure that all farmers can access these vital financial supports.”

    Continuing, Minister Creed said “Staff from my Department are available to meet with farmers on a one-to-one basis in various locations throughout the country to assist them in making their applications. These clinics have proven very successful to date and farmers can sit down with an official from my Department and make their online BPS or Transfer of Entitlements applications on the spot. Already over one fifth of the small minority of farmers who applied in paper format last year have made the transition to an online application. It is important to ensure that this momentum is now maintained, and the 1 to 1 clinics offer farmers the opportunity to make the move to online efficiently.”

    In the coming week clinics will be available in Buncrana, Ballybofey, Roscommon, Sligo, Rosscarbery, Fermoy, Dungarvan, Bunclody, and Ballinasloe. A full list of all the clinics over the coming weeks is available on the Department’s website at:

    https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/bpsonlineclinics2018/

    Should farmers wish to contact the Department in relation to their online application they can do so at:

    • 076 1064424 in relation to queries on registering for www.agfood.ie – for example queries on lost passwords, how to register etc., or
    • 076 1064420 in relation to queries on actually completing the BPS application once registered on www.agfood.ie or to enquire about the one-to-one clinics.

     

  • Department of Agriculture officials are meeting with the main farmers co-ops later today to discuss the ongoing fodder crisis.

    Yesterday evening, the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed announced a national review of fodder supplies.

    It follows months of wet weather, that have left farmers in many areas low on animal feed.

    Minister Creed says his department may consider importing fodder if required.

    The Minister said officials from his Department met with Teagasc and the main co-ops last week, and will meet again today following a difficult weekend.

    He said significant rainfall over the weekend in many areas of the country has created additional challenges for Irish farmers dealing with what has already been a difficult spring.

    A register is also being established by Teagasc for farmers who may have additional fodder, with the agency saying they want to mobilise any fodder reserves to help farmers in need.

  • People returning from holidays abroad have been asked to avoid bringing home pork-based food such as ham sandwiches to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).

    The Minister for Agriculture and Food Michael Creed said the introduction of African Swine Fever would devastate our pig industry.

    Mr Creed said the disease is spreading across the world with serious consequences for pig farmers, meat processors and exporters in the affected countries.

    According to today’s Irish Times, African swine fever is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually fatal. The disease poses no risk for humans or other species. Pigs become infected by sniffing the carcasses of dead pigs, by eating feed products that contain the virus, or by coming in contact with clothes or boots that farmers, hunters and others have been wearing while handling infected pigs.

    Minister Creed has urged Irish people and visitors to Ireland not to take the risk of bringing meat products into Ireland from affected countries as an outbreak of the disease would have an enormous impact on our pig industry.

    “Don’t bring back your sandwich; don’t bring back your salami,” he said.

    Ireland has almost 1.7 million pigs and pig meat exports were worth €666 million in 2018.

  • The Oireachtas Agriculture Committee will meet this afternoon to discuss the fodder crisis.

    The Agriculture Minister Michael Creed  has been invited to the meeting to explain what steps his department are taking to tackle the fodder shortage, which is affecting farmers along the Western seaboard and in other areas of the country.

    Committee Chair Fine Gael Deputy Pat Deering says they want a detailed update today on the crisis:

  • The Minister for Agriculture has announced details of Online Clinics which will be held across the region in April, to assist farmers to submit their Basic Payment Scheme and Transfer of Entitlements applications online.

    Farmers can meet on a one-to-one basis with Department staff who will assist them in making their BPS application.

    Under EU regulations, all applications must now be submitted online, and the application process is open since February.

    BPS online clinics are being held across the region where farmers can meet one-to-one with a member of staff from the Department, and make their Basic Payment Scheme application there and then.

    A clinic will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sligo next Friday 5th April, at the Twin Trees Hotel, Ballina on Wed 10th April, at the Oranmore Lodge Hotel in Oranmore, Galway on Friday 12th April and the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe the following Tuesday 16th April, and at the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris on Tuesday 30th April - the clinics will run from 9am to 3pm.

    Further online clinics are planned for Galway, Roscommon and Mayo during the month of May.

    Minister Michael Creed is urging farmers to avail of the opportunity to apply for the BPS with the assistance of Department staff.

    Farmers with queries in relation to completing the BPS apaplication online can also ring the Department at 076 - 1064420.

     

  • 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 today announced details of EMFF grants of €4 million, awarded by Ireland’s 7 Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) to 274 coastal based projects, supporting total investment of €6.4 million.  The grants are co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union under Ireland’s European Maritime & Fisheries Fund Operational Programme for the seafood sector.

    Almost 400 applications were made to the 7 FLAGs this year. All applications were reviewed by individual FLAG Boards in each of the seven FLAG regions throughout Ireland.  The FLAG Boards are comprised of volunteers from the local communities.  Projects must be able to demonstrate a clear link to coastal community rejuvenation, enterprise, innovation, job creation and skills enhancement across the fishing, aquaculture and maritime industries.

     62 projects in the West have been awarded funding of €808,000, while in the Northwest 42 projects will share grant aid of €973,000.

     

  • Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced that the deadline for submission of data for Farm Improvement Plans in Knowledge Transfer Groups will be extended by two weeks until 14th August, 2018. The 31st July deadline for holding meetings of KT Groups remains in place.

    Minister Creed commented “following on from discussions with key stakeholders, I have decided to extend the period for Knowledge Transfer Group facilitators to submit completed Farm Improvement Plans under the Knowledge Transfer Programme.  In particular, this extension has arisen on foot of concerns expressed in relation to the amount of resources currently being dedicated by advisory services to assisting farmers in dealing with the current weather conditions.”

    Minister Creed added “this extension will enable advisors and vets to benefit from extra time to finalise actions for their Knowledge Transfer Groups and to progress the outstanding work carried out to date under the scheme. In turn, this allows farmers to derive maximum benefit from the Knowledge Transfer Programme.”

    The Minister also urged all participants in Knowledge Transfer Groups to submit their Farm Improvement Plan data as soon as possible.  Processing will begin on cases submitted by the original 31st July deadline in order to ensure that any impact on payment timelines is minimised.

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced that advance payments under year 2 Sheep Welfare Scheme have commenced on time this week to all eligible farmers.  The Minister confirmed the rate for the advance payment was again set at 85%. 

    A total of €15.1 million is now issuing to some 18,600 farmers.

    The Minister said: “The scheme, which was a key commitment in the Programme for Partnership Government, reflects the commitment of the Government to the sheep sector in Ireland, and will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the sheep sector”.

    Minister Creed urged any farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the Department immediately in order to facilitate payment.

    The Minister concluded by saying:

    “Year three of the Scheme will be opening in the coming weeks and my Department will be in contact with farmers shortly to advise them of this.  At that stage, there will also be an opportunity for new entrants to the sector to join the scheme.”

     

     

  • Minister Michael Creed appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriclture, Food and the Marine yesterday, to brief the Committee on the fodder crisis.

    The meeting was requested by Mayo Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin last week, during the parliamentary recess, in order to address the issue.

    Minister Creed confirmed that he will be meeting with the main banks in order to ensure that farmers can access credit during this time and also confirmed that the €1.5m limit on the fodder support scheme would be raised, should it be necessary to continue the support.

    Members of the committee also raised the issue of inspections and the added pressure that they could bring at this time. It was suggested that a case be made for inspections to be waived under the fodder shortage is resolved. Flexibility in relation to credit was also cited as vital and meal vouchers were another subject raised as an option for farmers who fields are still too water-logged for grass to grow and who cannot put their animals out to grass yet.

    The Committee members welcomed the assistance measures announced by the Minister, which include extending the closing dates for various schemes and greater operational flexibility for road hauliers engaged in the transport of fodder.

  • 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.

  • Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has confirmed today that farmers in Achill who had their payments held up or withdrawn, due to a fire on their commonage, will receive their payments.

    That was confirmed by Fianna Fail Councillor Paul McNamara.

    On Monday Cllr McNamara made an appeal at the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council attended by Minister of State John Paul Phelan.

    In one case on Achill there is a 17,000 acres of unfenced commonage held by more than 500 shareholders and with about 200 active farmers and these farmers are told that if there is 20 percent burning of the commonage then all their payments will be withheld.

    But Cllr McNamara argued, those farmers cannot be responsible for what they simply can’t control.

    This morning Minister Creed has confirmed the farmers will receive their payments.

  • Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Michael Creed announced today that he has extended the duration of both the Fodder Import and Fodder Transport support measures for an additional week. These measures which were scheduled to conclude on Monday April 30th will now run until Monday 7th May.

    The Minister said ''While the weather has improved and grass growth continues to improve significantly, there are farmers in some parts of the country who still need to locate fodder for their animals. Having reviewed the situation and listened to the views of members of the representative fodder group I established in March, I have decided that extending the closing date for the two measures for one further week is appropriate”.

    Demand for fodder has reduced significantly. However, there remain some areas where land is not yet sufficiently dry to graze livestock and there is still a short term demand for fodder.

    Concluding, Minister reaffirmed that ‘these measures are effectively addressing issues around fodder availability”.

    The Minister reminded farmers that the animal welfare emergency assistance continues to operate where animal welfare is seriously at risk via the emergency helpline numbers – Call Save  0761 064408 or phone 01 6072379.

     

  • The Agriculture Minister is set to intervene in talks today in a bid to end the long-running dispute between farmers and factories over animal prices.

    It's after the latest round of discussions between the Beef Plan Movement, Meat Industry Ireland and farming organisations ended last night without agreement, amid reports they were on the verge of collapse.

     

    IFA president Joe Healy says the 30-month age limit's been a particular sticking point in these talks.

    The  meeting is scheduled with Minister Creed in Backweston, in Celbridge at 10am this morning. 

    In a statement to Midwest News, Joe Healy said with Brexit just 72 days away, strong EU and Government support is urgently required for beef farmers who are in the middle of a severe income crisis. 

    On CAP,he says, it was agreed on the need for a fully funded CAP and to protect its share of the EU Budget, and ensure that the current level of direct payments to Irish beef farmers is protected.

    On imports, Joe Healy said IFA made a major issue on the damage to the EU beef market and prices from sub-standard beef imports from outside the EU. He said it was agreed “it should be ensured that imports which do not meet the same stringent standards as EU producers are banned”.

     IFA secured a strong position for additional funding for targeted direct support for suckler cows.

     It was agreed Bord Bia will develop a beef market price index model.

     It was also agreed that an independent grocery regulator is required.

  • Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, has issued a strong warning to farmers and their advisors, of the following in relation to agricultural and eligible forestry land which is burnt illegally during the closed season – i.e. 1st March to 31st August:

    If you burn land after the 1st March:

    • You risk prosecution
    • Such land is not eligible for payment under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes;
    • Inclusion of illegally burnt land in the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme application may result in reduced payment and penalties under this scheme and the other area-based schemes, e.g. Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme;
    • Illegal burning can also render the land of your neighbours ineligible for payment;
    • Where it is identified that lands were burnt during the closed season this may result in such land being inspected by Department officials.

     

    The Minister concluded; “Both farmers and the wider public, whether it be at work or in enjoying the countryside, should at this time of year be mindful  of the damage caused by burning and should take appropriate care”

     

  • The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced the mandatory extension of electronic identification to all sheep.

    The new rules will require all sheep sold from 1 October 2018 onwards to be identified electronically.  This timeframe will allow farmers a reasonable period of time to use up stocks of tags on hand. The Minister added that he intends to introduce a one off support measure up to a maximum of €50 per keeper for the first purchase of EID tags.

    Lambs under 12 months of age moving directly to slaughter from the holding of birth will be required to be identified with a single electronic tag.  All other sheep will require an EID tag set comprised of two tags – one conventional tag and a corresponding electronic tag.  However a conventional tag and an EID bolus will be permitted also.

    The Minister further announced that electronic tag readers and associated software are included as eligible investments in the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) scheme to assist sheep farmers in flock management.  He stressed however, that tag readers are not a requirement for the new sheep identification system. 

    The move to full EID and the inclusion of EID readers as an eligible investment in TAMS will make the recording of the movement of lambs off farm much more convenient and will greatly simplify the paperwork involved for sheep farmers.

    Meanwhile IFA President Joe Healy said the announcement by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed on the imposition of compulsorily electronic sheep tagging on all sheep from October 1st is adding insult to injury after the fodder crisis and the financial challenges sheep farmers have had to endure this winter.

    He said it is astonishing that Minister Creed would impose further costs and bureaucracy on farmers on the same day that Brussels has proposed a cut to CAP Direct Payments.

    Joe Healy said the Minister is ignoring farmers and appears to be dancing to the tune of the meat factories, which are pushing hardest for EID.

    He said sheep farmers will be really angry with this announcement from the Minister as they see everybody benefiting except farmers, who will have to pick up all of the costs. In addition, it comes on top of the Clean Sheep policy which the Minister imposed earlier this year and it has caused immense hardship for the sector.