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Smith signals further support for new entrants to Dairying - Allocation of second milk quota increase under Health Check agreement

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today announced his plans for the allocation of the second of five annual increases of one per cent in milk quotas agreed under the so-called "health check" of the CAP reform. One quarter of the increase (approx. 14 million litres) will again be set aside to support new entrants to milk production. The balance will be allocated as a 0.75% increase in quota on a permanent, saleable basis for every producer active on 1 April 2010.

The Minister said: "My consideration of how best to allocate this year's quota increase has been informed by a careful assessment of the impact of last year's allocation. I am of course keen to enhance the position of all milk producers, but I have also paid close attention to the views of the farming organisations and ICOS on the implementation of last year's New Entrants Scheme. I am delighted to note that the Scheme has been received very positively, and that there is a desire to build on that success with a repeat of the process. The one issue that did emerge was the need to make provision for those who bought quota as new entrants in recent Trading Schemes. I have therefore decided to again use one quarter of the increase to support new entrants, and to earmark some of this amount for special allocations to suitably qualified Trading Scheme applicants".

The details of the scheme will be finalised and published shortly, but the Minister indicated that he envisages similar arrangements to last year. Potential new entrants will apply to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to participate in the scheme, and will be joined by those who purchased quota through the Milk Quota Trading Scheme as new entrants in respect of any of the last four milk quota years, including 2010/2011. On this occasion a maximum of 50 successful 'brand new' entrants will each receive allocations of 200,000 litres of quota. The balance of approximately 4 million litres will be divided equally between suitably qualified Trading Scheme applicants. All applicants will be carefully chosen based on their own circumstances and their potential viability as dairy farmers. A comprehensive business plan will have to be submitted, and all applications will be subjected to a rigorous assessment by the same independent assessment group that adjudicated on last year's New Entrants Scheme.

Concluding, the Minister said: "I am happy to again strike what I believe to be the right balance in the allocation of this quota increase. It allows me to acknowledge the efforts that all milk producers have made in developing their enterprises while at the same time renewing my commitment to bringing new people and new ideas into dairying. It also provides the opportunity to support other new entrants who are just finding their feet following their first encounters with the Milk Quota Trading Scheme. I look forward to continued progress on all fronts".

Date Released: 24 February 2010