May 28, 2021
DAFM last minute policy causing farmers undue stress – Matt Carthy TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has criticised the habit of the Department of Agriculture of waiting until the last minute before implementing common sense policy and deadline extensions.

He was speaking as farmers in the GLAS scheme required to sow seed mix to meet the Wild Bird Cover action of the scheme are unable to meet the June 1stdeadline due to wet conditions.

Teachta Carthy said:

“One of the very positive actions farmers carry out every year as a part of GLAS is sowing oats and linseed to meet the Wild Bird Cover action.

“This action has fantastic environmental and biodiversity implications; providing a food source for seed eating birds, and benefits pollinators and insects too.

“Unfortunately, many farmers particularly in the West have reported that this year the soil is simply too wet to sow right now to meet the planting deadline of June 1st.

“Even at this late stage, I fully expect that the Department will extend the deadline in respect of this problem.  But, they will leave it to the last minute, in an all-too-familiar approach from the Department of Agriculture.  It sometimes seems that Department like to wait until existential crisis looms before taking action.

“We saw this in forestry last October and are again unfortunately at the moment, we’re also getting to that point with horticultural peat.

“It seems to permeate every single part of the Department.  Recent years have seen some improvements on historical farm and scheme payment tardiness, but we should hardly be clapping them on the back for simply paying people on time.

“The Department of Agriculture needs to understand that this lethargic and lacklustre approach is causing undue stress to farmers.  Farmers are no strangers to hard times or hard work – they deserve a Department that gives them space warranted and help as needed.

“Fair Play demands that the Department treats farmers as their most important key and primary stakeholder.

“Minister McConalogue should do farmers and the environment a favour by confirming the extension immediately rather than leaving this to the last minute again. He claims to have been seeking flexibility in Brussels over the past number of days – he should provide it to farmers at home in this regard.”

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