The plight of young farmers throughout the country is an issue that I am hearing about during the election campaign and it is a situation that must be addressed immediately.
We all heard a big fanfare a few years ago announcing the arrival of so many young farmers into agriculture but that excitement has petered out in no uncertain fashion in recent times. The entitlements that they are receiving are very welcome but the payments are being made in a drip-drip fashion which is not good enough. A lot of these young farmers have leased land and have to pay for it, and have a lot of financial burdens in many cases and sadly the Minister and his department are not sending these payments out fast enough. Now we know that some of these young farmers have not got any payments at all yet. Many of these farmers borrowed money on the understanding that they would have received their payments by December so it is an unacceptable situation. I have been working on this issue on a constant basis and indeed we have got many of these farmers sorted out with payments. Instead of closing DVO offices around the country the Minister should hold on to the staff concerned and re-allocate to them to work on the payments system so that when farmers are owed their money, they receive it on time