Minister Putz’s proposals could devastate small farms and rural planning – McAlir

MLA West Tyrone said: “Farmers have been looking forward to finding out what policy the minister plans to pursue after Brexit and the loss of EU funding.

“One of the proposals of Minister Puts is to increase the minimum claim from the current 3 hectares (7.4 acres) to 10 hectares (24.7 acres). This is bad news for up to 5,000 small farms that will not be eligible for the proposed area-based sustainability payment, which is the successor to the single farm payment. It would deprive them of their business.

“It will not only be devastating for the affected businesses and the local economy, but in most cases the only option for obtaining planning permission in rural areas is to access an active farm room.

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Declan McAlir

“If this decision is implemented, it will greatly affect young families wishing to settle in the country, with the additional impact of depopulation on schools, shops, sports clubs and other local services.

“We also have serious concerns that there are no plans to introduce a sheep support scheme or reintroduce the ANC mountain farm payment scheme, which his party has closed. Refusal to include them in the new proposals will have a particularly detrimental effect on small mountain farms and on our ability to compete with farmers in the south who are supported by such schemes.

“The minister’s plans also do not contain specific proposals for the restoration of generations, and despite the great shortage of women in leadership positions, there are no proposals on how to address this imbalance.”

Mr McAllier concluded: “I am also very disappointed that Minister Putz did not agree to my request to extend the consultation period. I believe that 6 weeks is not enough time to fully consider this policy, especially considering that it was launched a few days before Christmas, when people were previously busy with the holiday season.

“Shin Fein has reacted strongly to the consultation, which closed on Tuesday, and we will continue to challenge these proposals because of the extremely detrimental impact they can have on small farms and rural communities.” Minister Putz’s proposals could devastate small farms and rural planning – McAlir

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