DUP’s ‘Rural Roadshows’ get underway

The packed audience at the first roadshow
The packed audience at the first roadshow
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DUP MEP Diane Dodds has hailed the success of the first week of ‘Rural Roadshows’ to inform the public on changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The first of these meetings took place at the Strangford Arms, Newtownards and Corick House, Clogher.

I think the crowd in attendance tonight demonstrates both the need and desire within the rural community to find out more about the implementation of the new Common Agricultural Policy

Diane Dodds MEP

At each of the sessions, Mrs Dodds was joined by DARD officials who outlined the detail around how the new CAP will be implemented in Northern Ireland.

Speaking after the meeting in Corick House, Mrs Dodds said: “I think the crowd in attendance tonight demonstrates both the need and desire within the rural community to find out more about the implementation of the new Common Agricultural Policy. This is a policy that is extremely complex and specific to individual farm businesses. Given the issues sounding the policy and the need for clarification, I have in conjunction with DARD officials organised a number of meet across the country.

“The meeting allows for a presentation on the upcoming requirements of the new CAP scheme, and within this a wide range of topics are covered, including the basic payment scheme, active farmer definition, eligibility criteria, greening, young farmer and national schemes, cross compliance and the farm business improvement scheme.

“After the presentation, I opened the floor for a question and answer session. This was extremely popular and many farmers have had their questions answered. I do recognise that DARD has in some instances been vague in their response, and I will continue to raise these concerns. However, I believe it is important that farmers voice their thoughts and concerns to help focus minds within the department. Such interaction is vital.

“I would strongly urge the farming community to make use of this opportunity at my remaining roadshows, which will help them to prepare for the single application form in May 2015.”

Meetings still to be held (Commencing at 7.45pm): Monday 16th March – Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick; Wednesday 18th March – Seagoe Hotel, Portadown; Thursday 19th March – Magherabuoy House Hotel, Portrush