Cash for Ulster flagged herds
NORTHERN Ireland farm minister Lord Dubs has announced that, following successful negotiations with the EU Commission, some 300 flagged suckler producers in the province will receive £500,000 in immediate financial aid.
Flagged herds are those that have suffered a case of BSE. And, according to the Ulster Farmers Union, calf prices from such farms have plunged because buyers with BSE-free holdings were anxious not to risk that status.
"While this is a difficult time for many parts of the industry, flagged suckler producers, arguably more than others, have borne the brunt of low prices and restrictions on the commercial trade for calves.
"The impasse was the crux of our argument at European Commission level, and I am pleased to say that we have received a positive response which allows me to release DANI funds without penalty under the State Aid provisions," Lord Dubs said.
"Payment will be £41 a cow based on the number of eligible cows paid under the 1997 Suckler Cow Premium Scheme and subject to the herd being flagged as at Dec 31, 1997.
Payments will also be made automatically within the next two weeks so producers do not need to apply."