Thursday, 8 December 2005
Department of Agriculture and Food
Farm Waste Management
Question 93: To ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food if increased grant aid will be available towards farm yard manure accommodation from 1 January 2006; if the grant aid will take account of the storage needs in both the pig and poultry section and for those farms with under 20 livestock units; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38257/05]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 and 98 together.
In order to assist farmers meet the additional requirements of the nitrates action programme, I have announced details of a proposed revised farm waste management scheme for which EU state aid approval has been sought. I am hopeful that early approval of the revised scheme will be forthcoming so that it can be introduced next January.
Subject to the required EU approval, the revised scheme will introduce a standard grant-rate of 60%, with 70% being available for Zone C counties, in place of the current grant-rate of 40%. It will raise the maximum eligible investment ceiling from €75,000 to €120,000, remove any minimum income requirements from farming from the scheme so that all small farmers can participate in it and extend the scheme to include horses, deer, goats, pigs and poultry, and mushroom compost. Other proposed changes to the scheme include the introduction of a new 40% grant-rate for specialised on-farm equipment with specific environmental advantages.
Negotiations are currently taking place with the EU Commission on the clearance of the scheme from the point of view of EU state aid rules and I am confident that approval will be secured at an early date.