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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 143-48
 Header Item TAMS Eligibility
 Header Item TAMS Eligibility
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item TAMS Applications
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Milk Quota

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 844 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 143-48

TAMS Eligibility

 143. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will outline the main areas of on-farm investment that will be covered by TAMS 2; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26358/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department published a consultation paper on the new Rural Development Programme in January 2014. In the case of TAMS II, the paper set out a number of priorities, including further support to encourage investment in the dairy sector in view of the forthcoming abolition of milk quotas; an enhanced scheme of grant-aid for young farmers; investment in low-emission slurry-spreading equipment; improvements in certain pig and poultry facilities; bio-energy; and a new farm building measure to support the construction of animal housing and slurry storage. In addition, a dedicated investment scheme for the Organic sector will be introduced. Further details in regard to these grants will be published in the Rural Development Programme itself when it is finalised in the near future.

TAMS Eligibility

 144. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the investment limits that will apply under TAMS 2; if there will be an increase in limits for farm partnerships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26359/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney No decision has yet been taken on the maximum investment ceilings which will be applicable under the proposed new schemes for TAMS II. Final decisions in relation to the treatment of partnerships under these new Schemes also remain to be taken.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 145. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when it is proposed that GLAS will commence; the opening date for applications; when the scheme will be in operation; when it is proposed to have these payments commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26360/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney GLAS (the Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme) is part of a suite of proposed measures under the new Rural Development Programme (RDP). I will be submitting the draft RDP to the European Commission within the next few weeks and I would hope to secure formal approval in time to roll-out the new GLAS Scheme for applications before the end of this year.

The regulations allow for up to 75% of the total payment due to the participant to be made once all administrative checks have been carried out and that being the case, I would expect the first payments to commence in the last quarter of 2015.

The proposed maximum payment is €5,000 per annum, with the Scheme building up to the inclusion of some 50,000 farmers with a total envisaged expenditure of €1,450m over the programming period. I expect most farmers to achieve the maximum payment under the Scheme.

TAMS Applications

 146. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding the number of applications received under each measure of TAMS 1; the number of approvals that have issued; the payments made to date on an annual basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26361/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The information requested by the Deputy is being collated at present and will be forwarded to him as soon as possible.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 147. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the payments made under REPS 4, AEOS 1, 2 and 3 in 2014; the amount it is proposed to pay before the end of this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26362/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney To date, a total of €57.68m has been paid in respect of REPS4 this year. The budget for 2014 for REPS is €117m, so there remains a balance of €59.32 m to spend under this scheme to the end of the year. The following table sets out the payments made under AEOS 1, 2 and 3 in 2014 to date and the proposed amount to pay before the end of the year.

Scheme Paid to date Balance Remaining to end of year
AEOS 1 €4,359,053 €23,588,347
AEOS 2 €5,632,819 €12,573,681
AEOS 3 €7,889,687 €12,088,315

Milk Quota

 148. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the formal proposals, if any, he has submitted to the European Commission in terms of a possible adjustment of the butterfat co efficient; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [26363/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I have been very active in seeking to secure further measures to ensure a soft landing for milk producers in the lead-up to milk quota abolition in 2015. I have discussed this matter extensively with other EU Agriculture Ministers and with the European Commission, and officials from my Department have raised this issue at EU level and with other Member States. However, attempts to consider measures beyond those agreed in 2008 have been resisted and neither of the interim reports on the 2008 CAP Health Check Agreement, in 2010 and 2012, proposed any further changes to the quota regime.

  This year I have joined with my colleagues at each Agriculture Council meeting in pressing this matter and we submitted a proposal for the Commission to adjust the butterfat coefficients. For super levy purposes, butterfat causes an adjustment to milk supply – the greater the differential between average butterfat (current levels) and reference fat levels (base fat), the greater the adjustment to milk intake levels. The proposed solution is to reduce the positive butterfat co-efficient and increase the negative one to ensure fair distribution across MS. Technically, this can be changed under Commission competency at Management Committee level. The Commissioner has said they will not move on butterfat without majority support at Council, and unfortunately, there are enough countries opposed to any move on butterfat. At Council last Monday we tried again to get agreement on a compromise but there was no qualified majority in favour. Despite there being a blocking minority at this month’s Council, I along with a number of Member States who share our views on soft landing succeeded in having the issue put on the agenda for the July Council, the first under the Italian Presidency. In the meantime, we will be in contact with various countries in an attempt for an agreement which would bring about an adjustment to the fat co-efficient. While I will continue to try and achieve measures to ensure a soft landing in the final year of the quota regime, but in the meantime dairy farmers must operate within the quota regulations until they expire in 2015.


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