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Minister Coughlan approves the Immediate use of set-aside Lands for Animal Feed Purposes

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced her decision, in the light of the level of rainfall during the last two months, to authorise farmers in Ireland to use the lands declared as set-aside in their 2007 Single Payment application for animal feed purposes with immediate effect. The Minister pointed out that under the provisions of the EU Regulations, which enable a Member State to provide for such a derogation, fodder produced on the set-aside lands before 1 September, 2007 must be for the producer's own use.

The Minister explained that under the normal rules governing the use of set-aside lands, the lands in question could not be used for agricultural purposes prior to 1 September at the earliest. Minister Coughlan said that her decision "will enable farmers to use set-aside lands now for the grazing of their animals or for the production of a forage crop. The immediate lifting of the set-aside restriction will greatly assist the farmers involved to address some of the fodder problems brought on by the rainfall levels over several weeks," the Minister concluded.

20 July, 2007

Date Released: 20 July 2007