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Minister Coughlan comments on 2006 Farm Estimate from CSO

The farm income release from the CSO issued today shows that while for exceptional reasons 2006 farm income (operating surplus on farms) was 10.7% lower than the figure achieved in 2005 it was almost 9% higher than the 2004 level.

Commenting on the figures, the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, noted that the peak in 2005 was due to a once-off overlap of old and new payment schemes. "The CSO figures show that 2006 was a positive year for farm incomes. The livestock enterprises and cereals had a particularly good year with increases in output value of 7% and 24%. However, the decline in milk prices led to a fall of 1.5% in output value in that sector."

The Minister noted that the figures further underlined the vital role now played by EU and exchequer payments to farmers. "Direct payments to farmers amounted to almost €2 billion and accounted for 80% of farm income in 2006. The planned increases in payment rates for REPS, Disadvantaged Areas and other rural development measures will push this figure higher in future years. As the rural development measures will in future be 70% funded by the exchequer, this gives real expression to the strong commitment of this Government to farm families."

15 December 2006

Date Released: 15 December 2006