Longford/Westmeath TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that the approval of a phased re-payment of the superlevy fine due to be imposed on dairy farmers is a great boost to local farmers and will help to ease financial concerns.
The European Commission approved the decision after a recent meeting with member states in Brussels where Ireland voted in favour of the proposal.
“Paying the full superlevy, has in the past, been a huge financial burden for farmers and for co-ops. This year in particular farmers are preparing for the abolition of milk quotas so the surplus is even more of an issue, one which I have raised in the Dail with the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney. Farmers are keeping calves or buying more calves in an attempt to use up the milk but despite these measures, there is still a significant surplus.
“These proposals will allow farmers in Westmeath a level of flexibility in making their payments. There is an option to pay the levy in instalments and the Minister Coveney is examining the practicalities of how this will work.
“The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will still be required to pay the superlevy fine in full to the European Commission by the usual deadline of November 31st 2015 and farmers will repay a minimum of one-third this year, the same in 2016 and the remainder in 2017.
“As we are now in the final few days of the quota regime before they are gone forever, the dairy sector in Ireland is about to go through a major period of growth. There is huge potential for Irish farmers and now is the time for dairy farmers in this region to start planning for the future
“Cash flow is always an issue for those in the farming sector, making phased re-payments of the superlevy fine even more important.”