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Minister Smith promotes Farm Waste Management Scheme at the World and National Ploughing Championships

During his visit to the World and National Ploughing Championships at Tullow, Co. Carlow Mr. Brendan Smith T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food urged farmers to avail of the revised Farm Waste Management Scheme.

Minister Smith recalled that the revised Scheme was introduced in March 2006 in order to assist farmers meet the additional requirements of the Nitrates Directive. As the Scheme forms part of the current EU Rural Development Programme, it must close for new applications at the end of 2006.

Amongst the major changes introduced by the revised Scheme are (a) an increase in the standard grant-rate from the previous 40% to 60%, with 70% being available in the four Zone C counties; (b) the extension of the Scheme to new sectors such as pigs and poultry; and (c) the removal of any minimum income requirement from farming from the Scheme so that all small farmers can participate in the Scheme.

In view of the end year deadline for receipt of applications, farmers can apply under the Scheme as soon as any required planning permission has been applied for to the relevant local authority. Those cases would, however, not be further processed until full and final planning permission had been received. It is a strict condition of the Scheme that the written approval of the Department must be obtained prior to commencement of any work or purchase of equipment/items for which grant aid is sought.

The Scheme, said Minister Smith, is now particularly attractive to farmers following the recent decision to up-date the Standard Costings used to calculate grant payments under the Scheme. Almost 9,000 applications have been received under the Scheme and nearly 5,000 approvals issued to farmers to commence work.

In conclusion Minister Smith reminded farmers of the end December 2006 deadline for receipt of applications.

29 September, 2006

Date Released: 29 September 2006