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Milk Quota Allocated to 70 New Entrants to Dairying

- Smith announces allocation of 14 million litres under New Entrants Scheme -

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today announced that 70 new entrants to dairying have each been allocated a milk quota of 200,000 litres under the New Entrants Scheme that he announced in June. Applications were considered through a selection process conducted by an independent assessment group chaired by Mr. John Tyrrell, Director General of ICOS.

The Minister said: "When I announced this scheme I expressed the hope that it would be well-subscribed and that it would identify people who have a genuine future in dairying. I think it has been a great success on both counts. The applications were high not only in number but also in quality. The feedback from the assessment group has been extremely positive, in that while the 70 successful applicants clearly merited their selection, the overall standard across all applications was very high. The milk sector is, and will continue to be, hugely important for Ireland. It is one of the fundamental planks of our high value export oriented food sector. It has huge potential. This scheme, aimed at new entrants, augurs well for the future of the sector."

Summarising the outcome of the Scheme, the Minister explained that a total of 141 applications were received by the closing date of 31 July 2009. Of these, 35 were disqualified because the applicants were either already quota holders, did not submit a business plan or did not have the required educational qualifications. The remaining 106 were considered by the assessment group, which selected the 70 successful applicants. All recipients have until 1 April 2011 to commence production, and all will be required to attend training courses facilitated by Teagasc and to provide financial statements on an annual basis to the Department.

Minister Smith said that a further 1% of additional quota would be available in 2010. "I intend to consider what further scope may be available to expand the scope of eligibility for the scheme to new and recent entrants next year following a review of this scheme."

The Minister concluded by thanking all of those who participated in the Scheme, and wished all of the successful applicants well in their future endeavours.

Date Released: 30 September 2009