The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney gave a latest update this week on the ‘old’ young farmers issues ahead of a major meeting of affected farmers in Athlone.
In response to a number of parliamentary questions on the issue this week, he again said the Department of Agriculture has no discretion regarding these eligibility criteria and, as such, it is not possible to extend the Young Farmers Scheme or Young Farmers category of the National Reserve to include the group of farmers in question.
However, he also said that the Regulations does include an optional provision whereby Member States may use the National Reserve to allocate new entitlements or give a top-up on the value of existing entitlements for persons who suffer from a ‘Specific Disadvantage’.
He said the application of this optional use of the Reserve for non-priority categories will be dependent on the availability of funds within the National Reserve once the two priority categories have been allocated.
According to the Minister, the Department is aware of the particular category of farmer and is currently engaging with the EU Commission to examine the possibility of including this category of farmer under the ‘Specific Disadvantage’ provision.
As many as 700 so called ‘old’ young farmers are set to attend a major meeting in Athlone tomorrow (Friday) on what they see as their ‘unfair’ treatment under the latest CAP reform.
The meeting takes place in the Hodson Bay Hotel on February 6 at 8pm. For more information call 086-0740024 or visit www.facebook.com/theforgottenfarmer.