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Crop Damage Assessment to Get Underway

22 February 2010

NORTHERN IRELAND - Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has announced the commencement of the assessment of losses incurred by potato and vegetable farmers as a result of the severe frost in January 2010.

The damage assessment exercise will inform any future financial support consideration, subject to availability of funding. In accordance with EU State Aid Rules, any aid will be confined to actual losses, will be conditional on more than 30 per cent of the crop being destroyed and will be subject to limitations on the level of aid.

Confirming the beginning of the assessment, the Minister said: "Following a preliminary assessment of the crop losses caused by the very severe frost, I have instructed my officials to proceed with an exercise to establish the extent of crop damage, including subsequent financial loss, suffered by individual potato and vegetable growers as a result of the severe frost. I also wish to stress the deadline for receipt of the Crop Damage Assessment Forms by DARD which is 5pm on Tuesday 9 March."

The Minister went on to explain how the assessment will operate. She said: “Growers who wish to be considered for any financial assistance that may become available will be required to complete a ‘Crop Damage Assessment Form’. Eligibility for assistance will be determined by an analysis on a case by case basis of the information provided by the grower. The objective of the analysis is to establish not only the losses but also the impact of such losses on the grower's overall enterprise. Eligible growers will be required to demonstrate that the potatoes and vegetables were damaged by frost and the extent of that damage.”

In conclusion, the Minister added: "I encourage those growers who are directly affected to complete and submit the Crop Damage Assessment Form without delay. Only growers who submit the Crop Damage Assessment Form by the deadline specified will be given consideration."

Growers wishing to submit information can obtain the Crop Damage Assessment Form from Tuesday 23 February 2010 at 9am on the Department's website or from the address below:

Kathy McCann
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Kiltonga Industrial Estate
Belfast Road
Co Down
BT23 4TJ
Or by calling:
Telephone number: 028 9182 5812
The deadline for receipt of Crop Damage Assessment Forms is Tuesday 9 March 2010 at 5pm.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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