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Minister Coughlan announces arrangements for sugar beet farmers wishing to claim force majeure or exceptional circumstances

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced the arrangements for farmers qualifying for the sugar beet element of the Single Farm Payment, who wish to claim force majeure or exceptional circumstances. The Minister recalled that she had decided to fix the 2001, 2002 and 2004 marketing years as the reference period for the calculation of the sugar beet compensation element of the Single Farm Payment. The three-year average of the individual farmers' quantities of sugar beet covered by growers' delivery contracts with Irish Sugar Ltd will provide the basis for calculating the level of compensation for individual farmers.

Farmers, whose production was adversely affected during one or more of the three reference years because of reasons of force majeure or exceptional circumstances are entitled to request that his or her entitlements be calculated on the basis of the year or years not affected by force majeure or exceptional circumstances. If production was affected during all of the reference years 2001, 2002 and 2004 then the compensation (entitlements) will be calculated based on the sugar beet contracted quantity in 2000. Minister Coughlan pointed out that force majeure could involve, for example, the death of the farmer or long-term incapacity of the farmer or a severe natural disaster affecting the farmer's agricultural lands. Application forms Ref: SPS/22/FMSB (pdf 46Kb)  are available on the Department's website or from Department Offices. The closing date for the receipt of applications is 21 April 2006.

The Minister stressed that the time available to establish entitlements in respect of the sugar beet element of the Single Farm Payment is limited as the relevant amendments to the EU Regulations were only recently adopted. She urged farmers to respond immediately to any outstanding correspondence from her Department, particularly, in relation to the areas used for beet production during the reference period if the farmers in question had amendments to make to the estimated areas issued to them.

5 April, 2006

Date Released: 05 April 2006