The announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, that the closing date for receipt of derogation applications under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme (DAS) has been extended by one week has been met with approval by all within the agri sector.
The Minister said that he was extending the date from August 24 to August 31 because he was “conscious” that some farmers were “experiencing difficulties”.
There have been changes to the Terms and Conditions governing DAS including a requirement that applicants achieve a minimum stocking density during 2011 of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare. As a result, a commitment was given by Minister Coveney to everyone who failed to achieve this minimum that they would be afforded the opportunity to apply for a derogation.
There are six categories for examination including (1) Farmers with a lower stocking density as a result of adherence to an agri-environment of similar type of plan; (2) Farmers, who are not subject to the restrictions from a stocking density point of view of plans referred to under Category 1 above, but whose stocking levels were restricted by the poor land productivity and farming constraints; (3)
Farmers who took over a farm either immediately before or during 2011, where the previous owner died; (4) Farmers whose livestock were affected by an epizootic disease; (5) New Entrants; (6) Miscellaneous - for farmers who consider their particular circumstance is not covered in the categories set out above, eg farmers who were occupationally incapacitated as a result of an illness and or hospitalisation.
“While I am pleased to see that the response to date has been very positive, with large numbers of applications already received, I am also conscious that the time-frame is causing difficulties for some farmers who wish to apply,” the Minister said, adding that it was on that premise that he had taken the decision to extend the closing date by one week, to 31 August. “I would strongly urge everyone intending to apply to do so as soon as possible and, in any event, before the end of the month.”