Clarity needed on the role of active farmer

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Stormont Agriculture Committee chairman and DUP MLA William Irwin has spoken of his concern over the confusion that prevails on the issue of what constitutes an active farmer.

DARD officials will come before the Agriculture Committee next week to brief members on the issue and speaking ahead of that meeting, Mr Irwin (pictured) raised concerns about the lack of information farmers on the ground are receiving from the department.

He said: “The number of farmers who have contacted me seeking clarity about the definition of an active farmer in the new CAP arrangements is very concerning. DARD have offered some guidance, but in my view the advice bring provided does not provide the necessary clarity for farmers and there is still too much ambiguity.

“There are a great number of possible scenarios that could easily be argued to fulfil the requirement of an active farmer. To date when these scenarios have been put to officials there has been no definitive answer. However I will be pushing them at the committee meeting to give some proper clarity and answer the kind of questions farmers are actually asking.”