The Department of Agriculture has raised land eligibility issues with a number of farmers whose land has been submerged by floodwaters around Lough Funshinagh, Co Roscommon.
Over 150ha of farmland is currently underwater as a result of flooding around the turlough (essentially a lake that can disappear and reappear), with local farmers saying water levels have not receded as they would have in previous years after winter rain.
As part of the standard processing of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications, the Department has examined the eligibility of certain lands around Lough Fushinagh in relation to the flooding of the land and the eligibility status of that land, a spokesperson for the Department told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“Where such issues arise, the Department enters into correspondence with the applicants and a right of appeal forms part of this correspondence.
“The Department cannot divulge without authorisation any personal information in relation to the BPS applicants of particular individuals.
“However, the Department has been in touch with a number of farmers in this regard.
“The processing of any land eligibility issues on such holdings will continue to be processed on a case-by-case basis in the normal way, in line with the existing land eligibility rules,” the spokesperson said.
Under the rules of the BPS, an eligible hectare of land is land that is used for an agricultural activity, such as grass for silage, grazing and land used to grow cereals.
It also includes maintaining an agricultural area in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation.
Laurence Fallon, a suckler and sheep farmer from Rahara, told the Irish Farmers Journal that he has “ongoing issues” with payments for his land from the Department of Agriculture as a result of his land being flooded.
The area he can farm is being “reduced constantly” he said, adding that he has lost grazing ground and land he would make silage on.