“Because services previously available through the local Department of Agriculture offices,
such as the issuing of herd numbers, have now been centralised, an unacceptable backlog has been created”.
“This delay has implications for many farmers waiting to apply for schemes such as the Basic Payments Scheme, GLAS and the Beef Data & Genomics Programme”.
“While special provision has been made for some categories of farmer, others are being left high & dry, and this is all down to the closing of local livestock offices, which we were promised, would not negatively impact on farmers”.
“The Minister must now make provision for all those who are awaiting a herd number and allow them to apply for schemes, without penalty” said Denis Naughten.
See Dáil reply
Parliamentary Question No. 414
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications for herd numbers which are currently pending; the average processing time for such applications presently; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 26th May, 2015.
Ref No: 20409/15
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine : (Simon Coveney)
As expected, there has been a considerable increase in activity in regard to herdnumbers arising from the new Basic Payments Scheme negotiated in the context of CAP reform. As a result, there has been a significant increase in applications to my Department’s Regional Veterinary Offices for new herdnumbers and amendments to existing herdnumbers and these are being processed as quickly as possible and currently just over 3,500 applications remain to be finalised. In this context, priority is being given to cases relating to applicants under the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme where a minimum stocking density requirement exists.
Given the particular circumstances this year, my Department has made a number of special arrangements designed to ensure that the non-issue of a herdnumber by the relevant scheme closing date will not impact negatively on applicants under the Basic Payments Scheme. For example, where an applicant under the National Reserve priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant’ had not been issued a herd number or added to a herd number by the closing date of 31 March 2015, their application under the National Reserve is being accepted once they had applied for a herd number or to be added to a herd number prior to 31st March 2015. Similarly, applicants under the Young Farmers Scheme who have not been issued a herd number or added to a herd number by the closing date of 29 May 2015 will have their applications under the Scheme accepted once they have applied for a herd number or to be added to a herd number prior to 29 May.
In addition, my Department is in the process of modifying the iNET online system to provide a facility whereby an on-line application can be submitted by arable farmers with greening obligations or organic farmers in cases where the applicants do not have a herd number or a live herd number. It will, therefore, be possible for Authorised Agents to submit online applications on behalf of farmers, who do not currently hold an active herd number. If any farmers are concerned about this matter, they can contact my Department at 0761 064441 or sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.