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Minister Coughlan comments on derogation arrangements under Nitrates Directive for REPS Farmers

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, today commented on the derogation arrangements under the Nitrates Directive for REPS farmers. The derogation is of vital importance for Ireland's most commercial farmers, and, as a result of the derogation arrangements, the more intensive grassland farmers can become eligible for REPS.

Grassland farms that apply for derogation and meet the applicable conditions will be permitted to operate above the statutory livestock manure limit of 170 kg of nitrogen from livestock manure per hectare per year, up to a maximum limit of 250 kg per hectare per year. The Minister noted that even though the derogation will not be completely formalised until the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government makes amendments to the Nitrates Regulations, she had put practical arrangements in place so that farmers can avail of it for the current year and be eligible to apply for REPS 4.

Application forms for the derogation have been published and farmers now need to lodge their applications (a very simple process for this year).

Interim Arrangements

For 2007 only, the closing date for receipt of completed Nitrate Derogation applications forms is Friday, 28th September 2007. Late applications will not be accepted.

A fertiliser Plan is not required in respect of 2007. Completion of Record 1, page 17 of the Explanatory Handbook for Good Agricultural Practice Regulations will suffice.

Fertiliser Accounts must be completed for 2007 and submitted to the Department (address as below) by 1st March 2008.

The Minister advised that full details of the derogation arrangements including application forms can be found on her Department's website http://www.agriculture.gov.ie or from
The Environment Section
Department of Agriculture and Food
Johnstown Castle Estate
Wexford
Telephone (053) 9163400

Minister Coughlan went on to say that she was well aware of the difficulties that the heavy rainfall this summer has created for REPS farmers trying to spread slurry. "Under REPS, all slurry produced on the farm was supposed to be spread by the end of August. As a special measure for this year, I am relaxing that condition. REPS farmers will therefore be allowed to spread slurry up to the same deadlines (October 15th) that apply under the Nitrates Regulations to all other farmers."

22 August 2007

NOTE TO EDITORS

The main conditions of the Derogation Application procedure are as follows:

An annual application must be made to the Department in the format specified and applicants must undertake in writing to fulfil the conditions set out therein. Applications must be received by 1st March each year (deadline for 2007 is 28th September).

Applicants must be farming a holding that is at least 80% grass.

Applicants must have grazing livestock - a derogation is only available in respect of grazing livestock (cattle, sheep, deer, goats, horses).

Applicants must have a Fertiliser Plan in place for their holding by 1st March each year (No plan required for 2007). Completion of Record 1; page 17 of the Explanatory Handbook for Good Agricultural Practice Regulations will suffice. Please note that applicants are not required to submit the completed Record 1 form to the Department. However, this record sheet must be retained with the applicant's farm records.

Applicants must keep Fertiliser Accounts. Fertiliser Accounts must be submitted to the Department of Agriculture and Food for the previous calendar year no later than 1st March of the following year.

Soil analysis will have to be performed at least every four years.

Date Released: 22 August 2007