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27 February 2009: Smith confirms Farm Waste payments to resume next week and ex-gratia payments on deferred payments

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today announced a special ex-gratia payment to farmers whose farm waste management grants have been partially deferred to 2010 and 2011. The payment will be made with the final grant instalment in January 2011.

The payment will not exceed 3.5 per cent of the value of the deferred instalments.

Minister Smith also confirmed that the initial 40 per cent instalments of up to 6,000 grants, cleared for payment, would begin early next week and would continue as cases are cleared over the next few months.

The Minister said that ¿the rate of interest to be charged on any loans taken out by farmers to finance the farm waste investment is, of course, a matter between the farmer and his or her bank. However, I believe that the payment we will make to the farmer is reasonable and should also be reflected in the arrangements between banks and participating farmers¿.

The Minister said that his Department would, very shortly, be writing to each farmer who has yet to receive their grants advising them that their applications are being processed and setting out the basis on which the grants will be paid when cleared. In addition, the first instalment of the grant will be accompanied by a letter of undertaking, committing the Department to the payment of the second 40 per cent instalment in January 2010 and the remaining 20 per cent instalment in January 2011.

Concluding, the Minister said: ¿I am pleased to be in a position to confirm payment on this very valuable scheme. The commitment to the additional ex-gratia payments will be welcome news today to participating farmers. The Farm Waste Management Scheme has been a very useful mechanism for setting up essential on-farm infrastructure which will underpin our multimillion export oriented food sector for the coming decades.¿

Date Released: 27 February 2009