3 March 2001
152m compensationwithin weeks
by Alistair Driver
LIVESTOCK farmers are set to receive 152m paid out in response to the foot-and-mouth crisis within the next few weeks months earlier than usual.
Agriculture minister Nick Brown announced on Saturday (3 March), that agrimonetary compensation would be paid to sheep farmers later this month.
Payments to beef farmers will be made in April and May, said Mr Brown, while payments to dairy farmers may take slightly longer.
Normally, farmers would have received the money at the end of the summer.
The payments, which have been available for a considerable amount of time, are to compensate farmers for the strength of Sterling which has devalued subsidies.
The government had refused to apply to the Brussels for the money because it has to foot about 80% of the cost, with the European Union contributing the rest.
But the foot-and-mouth crisis led to a change of heart at Westminster.
As the disease continued to spread, Mr Brown said European agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler acknowledged the gravity of the situation
“He could not have been more helpful or more kind. He expressed sympathy for the farmers and said they can have the agrimoney compensation early.”
Mr Fischler has also agreed to relax conditions relating to livestock subsidy payments so farmers will not penalised by disease control restrictions.
For example, livestock producers will still receive subsidies payments even if inspectors have not been able to visit their farms.
Mr Brown said would continue to monitor the animal welfare situation on pig farms where numbers build up because of livestock movement restrictions.
If the situation gets too bad, a slaughter scheme may be introduced along the lines of the scheme used during last years swine fever outbreak, he hinted.