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Coughlan extends National Reserve deadline to 22nd June

- Minister highlights low uptake on special categories for sheep and island farmers -

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced that she was extending the deadline for applications to the 2007 National Reserve by two weeks to 22nd June. She said that two-week extension would give farmers the additional time they need to make an application, given that uptake had been slow in Categories C and D.

The Minister said that sheep farmers should take particular note of the new special measure contained in the 2007 National Reserve. Category C caters for sheep farmers where at least 40% of their Single Payment was derived from direct payments associated with sheep production (Ewe Premium/Rural World Premium) during the reference period and where their existing Single Payment is less than €6,000. While allocations under this category will be capped at the DED average value of entitlements or a total Single Payment of €6,000, whichever is the lesser, successful applicants could receive a payment of up to a maximum of €1,000.

Announcing the two week extension of the application date, Minister Coughlan said: "I want to ensure that the maximum number of eligible sheep farmers benefit from this measure. Given the low level of applications received by today's closing date, I have asked my officials to correspond individually with all sheep farmers who, according to Department records, may qualify and who have not already submitted an application form. The farmers concerned will then have until 22nd June to apply."

The Minister said she hoped sheep farmers would take advantage of this opportunity, as a payment under the 2007 National Reserve would be an important boost to their farm income.

Minister Coughlan confirmed that she has also asked her officials to similarly correspond, where necessary, with off-shore island farmers eligible under Category D. She said that the number of applications to date from island farmers has been small and that the Category D grant is an important top up to the value of entitlements for off-shore island farmers in certain circumstances.

Application forms for the 2007 National Reserve are available on the Department's website http://www.agriculture.gov.ie, from Department offices and from Teagasc offices.

11 June, 2007

Date Released: 11 June 2007