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Minister Smith extends closing date for 2009: Nitrates Derogation Applications

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, announced today that he has extended the deadline for receipt of applications for derogations under the Nitrates Regulations to 15 May 2009.  The Minister said that the extension beyond the original date of 3 April 2009 is to give intensively stocked farmers, who plan to go over the limit of 170 kg of nitrogen from livestock manure per hectare this year, a final opportunity to submit a derogation application for 2009 to the Department.

The Minister explained that intensive grassland farmers are allowed to exceed the general 170 kg limit for nitrogen from livestock manure on their farm, up to a limit of 250 kg, provided that they have applied for a derogation. These farmers have already received a copy of their 2008 Nitrogen and Phosphorus Statements from the Department which will have assisted them in deciding whether they need a derogation in 2009.

The Minister also announced that the Department has simplified the application process this year by introducing a separate application form.  Unlike last year, farmers will not be able to apply for a derogation on their Single Payment application forms.

The Minister reminded intensively stocked farmers that failure to apply for a derogation could lead to the imposition of penalties on their Single Farm Payment. "It is critically important that intensively stocked  farmers who intend to apply more than170 kgs N/ha from livestock manure, if they have not already done so, apply for a derogation on or before 15 May 2009, to avoid penalties that may be applied", the Minister said.

The Minister also said that farmers who have already received letters from the Department concerning breaches of the nitrates limits in previous years, and have not replied to date, should do so as a matter of urgency.

Minister Smith stated that the new separate Nitrates derogation application form and further details of the system are available on the Departments website,  www.agriculture.gov.ie. Forms (and copies of 2008 Nitrogen & Phosphorus Statements) can also be obtained from local District Veterinary Offices or from the Nitrates Section, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford (telephone 053-9163444).

The Minister said that farmers who require information or assistance in relation to the requirements under the Nitrates Regulations should contact an approved advisor under the Farm Advisory Service.

9 April, 2009

Date Released: 09 April 2009