17 May 1996

Increased cattle premiums to help

INCREASED cattle premium payments have been proposed by the EU Commission to help farmers hit by the BSE crisis.

Franz Fischler, EU farm commissioner, will seek agreement from farm ministers next week to increase the 1996 beef special premium by £21.41 a head to £114.41 and to raise the suckler cow premium to £149.70, a rise of £25.70 an animal.

The farm ministers are also due to discuss the agricultural price package, and set-aside rates for the 1997/98 marketing year. But no agreement on these two issues is expected.

The commission however has made it clear that the set-aside rate will be below 10%. &#42