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Smith Announces Details of Scheme to Encourage New Entrants to Dairying

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today announced details of a scheme through which allocations of 200,000 litres of milk quota will be made to new entrants to dairying. The announcement follows the Minister's earlier decision to set aside one quarter of the first 1% milk quota increase under the Health Check for new entrants.  

The Minister said "At a time when the dairy sector is facing many serious challenges, it is perhaps more important than ever to make every effort to encourage new thinking and new methods. Who better to bring that freshness than new entrants? All in the industry agree on the importance of attracting new blood and now is the time to press ahead with new initiatives. This new scheme is a serious effort to identify people who have a future in dairying and can demonstrate not just their potential but also their commitment to the sector".

The Minister emphasised that applicants will be carefully chosen based on their own circumstances and their potential viability as dairy farmers. A comprehensive business plan will have to be submitted, and all applications will be subjected to a rigorous assessment by an independent assessment group.  In addition, successful applicants will be required to attend training courses facilitated by Teagasc and to provide financial statements on an annual basis to the Department.

Concluding, the Minister expressed the hope that the scheme will be well subscribed, and urged all potential applicants to ensure that they submit their applications by the deadline of 31 July. It is expected that successful applicants will be notified in September.

NOTE FOR EDITORS

The composition of the assessment group is as follows:

John Tyrrell - ICOS (Chairman)

Pat Dillon - Teagasc

Marian Potter AI - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Paul Savage - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Date Released: 10 June 2009