The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D., has announced that 2019 Nitrates Derogation applications can now be submitted online.
"The Nitrates Derogation provides farmers an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates, subject to certain conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of the Nitrates Directive", the Minister outlined.The derogation is an important facility for more intensive farmers. The online system is aimed at simplifying the application process and assisting farmers to avoid penalties. Farmers can also remain compliant with the Regulations by managing their livestock numbers, exporting slurry/farmyard manure or renting additional land. “Almost 7,000 intensively stocked farmers availed of the derogation in 2018. These farmers engage in soil sampling, nutrient management planning and comply with an increased inspection regime in order to ensure they are farming to a high environmental standard.”
The derogation is an important facility for more intensive farmers, particularly in the dairy sector and it is essential that its environmental credentials are maintained. Almost 7,000 intensively stocked farmers with an agricultural area of 466,000 hectares availed of the derogation in 2018 with this being a marked increase in both the area and the number farming under derogation since 2014. The Minister announced therefore a review of the conditions of the derogation would take place this year also. The Minister stated: “In order to ensure the sustainable continuation of the derogation, a review will examine further opportunities for derogation farmers to improve efficiencies and continue to reduce their environmental footprint”. It is expected the outcome of this review, including recommendations, be published by June of this year in order to allow derogation farmers sufficient time to plan for the 2020 year. Finally, the Minister said: “‘I would encourage more intensively stocked farmers to engage early with this application process and discuss the need for a derogation with their agricultural advisor”. The closing date for applications is 31st March 2019. Farmers not already registered for agfood.ie can do so by logging onto www.agfood.ie and clicking the 'Register' button.