New year LFASS boost for farmers
The Scottish Government has abandoned a £12m cut to the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme in 2018, it was announced on Thursday.

Hill farmers and crofters can expect to receive 100% of their Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) grant next year, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

As revealed by the Farmers Journal two weeks ago, changes to the EU Common Agricultural Policy regulations meant that Scotland could avoid introducing 'parachute payments' while transferring to an Areas of Natural Constraint scheme.

More than 11,000 farmers and crofters will receive their full grant

The European Commission has postponed that change to 2019. More than 11,000 farmers and crofters receiving their full grant rather than a 2018 parachute payment worth 80% as was previously announced.It is worth over £60m to the rural economy each year.

It is worth over £60m to the rural economy each year

LFASS provides hill farmers and crofters in Scotland’s most fragile and remote areas essential income support to their farming business. LFASS, in total, is worth over £60m to the rural economy each year.

“With 85% of Scotland’s agricultural area classed as less favoured, future support for farmers and crofters is crucial to ensure the economic viability and sustainability of these remote areas," Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said on Thursday. "LFASS is vital for our rural economy and remote communities, so I am delighted to confirm that hill farmers and crofters can expect to receive 100% of their entitlement for 2018 LFASS – rather than the previously announced 80%."

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Exclusive interview with European Commissioner for Agriculture - Phil Hogan

Irish Hereford breed society appoints new president
The Irish Hereford Breed Society has appointed its new president for the 1 July 2018 to 1 July 2019 period.

Elected to the position is Tipperary native Martin Murphy who runs the Toureenbrien herd in Lackamore, Newport. He takes over from outgoing president Pat McCarthy, who was in charge for the previous 12 months.

Murphy is the first member of the society to have been elected to the office of president for a second term. He previously held the role back in 2001 and this time brings with him an additional 15 years of Hereford Council experience, including three years as chair, during which time he hosted the very successful European Hereford conference in 2005.

Martin has served as chair of his local Munster branch of the society on two occasions, serving a total of six years. He represented Irish Herefords at the European Hereford conference in Germany in 2002, which had been postponed from 2001 due to the then major foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

Judging

As a member of the judging panel, he has judged at numerous society sales and summer shows around the country. Murphy is also a director of Irish Hereford Prime Ltd and was instrumental in setting up the very successful commercial Hereford cross autumn sale for weanlings and stores at Newport, Co Tipperary, which is now in its 11th year and growing year on year.

On his election, Martin said: “I am deeply honoured to have been elected as president of the Irish Hereford Breed Society for a second term. The start of the year was tougher than expected and can be largely attributed to the tough weather conditions and scarcity of fodder. However, things have improved greatly in recent weeks with a sharp increase in demand and prices for bulls to run with cows. I have no doubt that Herefords will be to the fore as one of the main breeds at the numerous upcoming summer shows around the country. I would encourage as many members as possible to participate in these events keeping the Hereford in view of the public at every opportunity. Like many breeders, I look forward to adding some of the new bloodlines arriving from Australia to my herd, which will undoubtedly improve our breeding lines. I‘d like to thank the team for their work in selecting the new sires for the breed improvement scheme. The chosen bulls are truly of outstanding quality.

Like many breeders, I look forward to adding some of the new bloodlines arriving from Australia to my herd, which will undoubtedly improve our breeding lines

“I’d also like to highlight the importance of good management and culling poor quality cattle in order to maintain the high standards associated with Hereford. These must be adhered to as the demand for Hereford beef is constantly growing. In order to meet these demands, we must produce good-quality cattle to remain competitive with other breeds and create an even more efficient product ensuring that cattle that will finish well with less feed in a reduced time period. I look forward to meeting as many members of the society as possible over the coming year and wish all of them every success in their endeavours.”

Weekly podcast: Leo Varadkar on CAP and unpaid farmers call for justice
In this week's podcast, an exclusive interview with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and farmers seek payment after sudden mart closure.

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An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar discussed CAP, Brexit and Mercosur in an exclusive interview with Irish Farmers Journal editor Justin McCarthy.

With the news that the secretary general of the Department of Agriculture Aidan O’Driscoll, is to leave his role to take up the same position with the Department of Justice, our correspondent Pat O’Toole looks at the impact that will have and who could replace him.

IFA Monaghan chairman Frank Brady updated Irish Farmers Journal news correspondent Thomas Hubert on the latest meeting of farmers left unpaid by the collapse of Castleblayney Mart.

Missed the previous episodes of the podcast? Catch up here: www.farmersjournal.ie/podcast

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