Dáil Éireann - Volume 557 - 20 November, 2002

Written Answers. - Bovine Diseases.

  95. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he has taken into account the difficulties being experienced by farmers whose herds are locked up due to tuberculosis, with regard to the fact that they are unable to purchase weanlings before the end of 2002 and are so unable to avail of special beef premium and extensification payments; if he will consider allowing such farmers to purchase and to hold animals in separate locations in order to alleviate this difficulty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22745/02]

[1438]   Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Under the regulations for the TB eradication scheme, a farmer whose herd is locked up due to tuberculosis cannot buy in cattle until his herd has one clear test and he is subsequently given permission to purchase cattle by his local district veterinary office. Under the EU regulations governing the direct payment schemes an applicant for special beef premium must have, at the time of application, eligible male cattle in his ownership and possession, proper to the age category for the appropriate premium being claimed. The farmer must be in a position to sign an undertaking to own, possess and maintain the animals at a specified location(s) on his-her holding for a two month retention period following application. A holding is defined in the regulations as all the production units in the State managed by a producer.

  As special beef premium payments in excess of 15 livestock units and extensification scheme payments are linked to the eligible forage area declared on a producer's area aid application, animals must be retained at specified locations on the producer's holding for the retention period. However, special provisions apply in respect of the special beef premium scheme for animals purchased by herdowners and held in feed lots. Producers are advised to contact my Department's special beef premium unit in Portlaoise in order to acquaint themselves of the full requirements in relation to this matter.