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Minister Announces Improved Support for Young Farmers 14 March 2008

In Tynwald this month the Minister of Agriculture received full backing from his Tynwald colleagues for amendments to the Farm and Horticulture Improvement Scheme.

Agriculture Minister Phil Gawne said ‘The Department is very aware of the importance of young farmers being able to invest in their future, and acknowledging the recent uncertainty caused by the debate about the agricultural support policy, we have decided to temporarily increase the age up to which young farmers are entitled to higher levels of capital grants.’

To prevent, as far as possible, any business that may have benefited from the enhanced rates for young farmers from losing out, the age limit for classification as a young farmer is temporarily being increased (for two years only) to 42 years of age, and no greater than 12 years eligibility in total.

Minister Gawne said ‘If the old adage good fences makes good neighbours is true, the Department expects to see very cordial relationships in the countryside develop quickly, as we are improving the capital grant support for boundary fences to help farmers control animal diseases.

‘Herd and flock health has been identified as an area that many farmers can continue to improve so as to increase returns. Figures from the Animal Health Division, for example, estimate an increased return of up to £40 per beast per year, when a BVD vaccination programme is adopted, typically costing less than £10 per animal.’

Transmission of disease by stray stock is also an obvious concern, particularly for sheep scab. To reduce stray stock, and improve the national flock and herd heath status, the grant available for boundary fencing will increase to 50% for a temporary 3 year period from 1 April 2008.

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