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Tag Archives: Department of Agriculture

Doubts raised on CAP meeting

Clare Beef Plan questions the transparency of department consultation CONCERN about the transparency surrounding an online Town Hall-style meeting in relation to proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been expressed by a local farming representative. Clare Beef Plan vice-chairman, Pat Nagle, isn’t happy with the way the two and a half-hour meeting was conducted by the Department of Agriculture as part of its efforts to involve farmers in a public consultation process. Mr Nagle, who participated in the virtual meeting, recalled Department officials outlined a section of the CAP proposals concerning suckler operators. “You could ask a question, but you didn’t know whether it would be answered or not. Beef Plan submitted a number of questions and I believe none of them were answered. It would have been better if the questions posed were displayed visually in some format, which would be far more transparent.” The Liscannor farmer claimed the meeting was akin to a “tick the …

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Hackett cool on meat regulator, saying government can’t control price of beef

THE government can’t control beef prices for farmers, according to Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Pippa Hackett. Senator Hackett, who is a beef suckler and sheep farmer, supports better labelling for grass-fed produced beef because she believes consumers are entitled to know how an animal was reared, on pasture or in a shed, and how it was slaughtered. Acknowledging the Bord Bia label, she believes work is needed to increase the standard of labelling by providing a lot more information to consumers in the future. She said the switch to organic farming on her Offaly farm, which has 35 suckler cows and 200 sheep on 200 acres, has resulted in considerable savings and had made their farm more profitable. However, she acknowledged organic farming is not an option for all farmers. In an interview with The Clare Champion, she described the centralisation of meat processing as a huge problem and a “mistake”. “Previously, we had local abattoirs …

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Welcome boost for Clare animal welfare groups

A TOTAL of €18,500 has been allocated to animal welfare and rescue organisations in Clare by the Department of Agriculture. The lion’s share went to Burren Animal Rescue who secured €12,000. The Tubber-based organisation offers a sanctuary for animals and rehomes horses, donkeys and pigs. It also offers a ‘virtual adoption’ service, whereby an animal can remain at the sanctuary and have its costs covered by a sponsor. In the latest funding allocation, An Cat Dubh Sanctuary in Mullagh was awarded €4,500. The organisation caters primary for cats, but is also home to some feline-friendly dogs, donkeys and hens. It provides a rehoming service as well as Trap, Neuter and Return/Release (TNR) service for feral cats. Clare Animal Welfare, meanwhile, received €2,000. The Feakle-based organisation provides a rehoming service for dogs and promotes neutering and general education on the care of dogs. Nationally, a total of €3.2m was awarded to 101 organisations. Minister Charlie McConalogue paid to everyone involved in …

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Broadband access slammed as farmers hit mart hitch

WEAK broadband infrastructural across Clare has been condemned by the county chairperson of the IFA, after online mart trading collapsed recently due to pressure on the system. Level 5 restrictions have severely curtailed the operation of marts across the country with all transactions now taking place virtually. Tom Lane of Parteen said that the inadequate state of broadband infrastructure in the county had been exposed and that speeding up initiatives like the National Broadband Plan was now an urgent matter. A technical glitch, outside of the control of Clare Marts, who use an external supplier for their streaming and online sales, meant that trading was interrupted for a time last Saturday week. “There was a major problem nationwide,” Michael McNamara, the manger explained. “One of the software providers that offer livestreaming, their server crashed or was unable to handle the volume of business. Thankfully, that got resolved. It was out for two to two-and-a-half hours, but got up and running …

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Carbon tax hike blots a ‘farmer friendly’ Budget

FARMING representative organisations in Clare have given a cautious welcome to Budget 2021, while voicing reservations over the fairness of the an increase of almost 2c per litre in the price of agri-diesel. An increase of €7.50 per tonne of carbon came into effect last Tuesday night, adding 1.937c the cost of a litre of green diesel. The measure takes the total carbon tax on agri-diesel to almost 9c per litre. Said Cratloe’s Eddie Punch, General Secretary of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), “The carbon tax is an environmental measure when there is a viable alternative to agri-diesel. When there’s no realistic alternative, it becomes just another tax, and it’s unfair.” Tom Lane, Clare County Chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), agreed the measure is unjust in the view of his members. “There is no viable alternative to agri-diesel on the market currently,” he said. “We understand the pressure to reduce emissions and when you look …

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Forestry owners want to cut tree felling licence delays

CLARE forestry owners with mature trees are waiting more than 12 months in some cases to secure a tree felling licence due to red tape, a local deputy has claimed. Deputy Michael McNamara recently asked the new Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue the measures he will take to address the backlog in applications for planting permits and felling licences in the forestry section in a Dáil question. Deputy McNamara said it is legitimate that people want to plant trees but it is also legitimate that nobody wants a monoculture sitka spruce plantation surrounding their house. The Independent Deputy said there is no point in pretending that planting sitka spruce will help the environment as it is a short term cash product. In addition to requesting more ecologists in the Department of Agriculture, Deputy McNamara stressed the Department of Agriculture had to adequately deal with a variety of issues concerning tree felling and planting. “We need timber but it is all a …

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Clare Beef Plan expresses concern over proposed PGI classification

CLARE Beef Plan have expressed grave misgivings about the shortcomings of a proposed new classification system for suckler beef. Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture have proposed a new Irish grassfed beef Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for submission to the EU for approval. Clare Beef Plan is concerned Bord Bia intends to market grassfed beef regardless of whether the PGI submission is accepted by the EU or not. For PGI status, it appears that all producers must be Bord Bia QA-approved, which is another cost for suckler farmers from which no benefit flows. The PGI is restricted to heifers and steers less than 36 months and beef cows up to 120 months. Since the over-riding consideration for the PGI is meat quality and this quality is to be determined by inspection, Beef Plan chairman, Joe Woulfe argues these age limits make no sense. He said the implication is that the meat of a 10 year-old cow is of the …

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Clare farmers oppose proposed new PGI status

PGIFEARS have been expressed that Clare farmers who manage farms in special areas of conservation like the Burren will lose out in the long run if a new classification system for suckler beef is introduced. The Independent Farmers’ Organisation of Ireland (IFOOI) has expressed grave concerns about the proposed Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, which the Department of Agriculture is seeking for Irish suckler beef. In fact, it has submitted a comprehensive objection to the DOA outlining its serious concerns about the implications for Clare beef farmers. Kilmurry McMahon farmers, Seamus Shannon and Patrick Crowe are two of the IFOOI executive members who have signed this objection. PGI for agricultural products and foods is linked to a geographical area where at least one production step has taken place. Independent Farmers call on all farmers and farm organisations to oppose this application and prevent the processors aided by state agencies from further exploitation of primary producers. “The Independent Farmers believe that …

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