Farm Assist applications up
THE number of farmers receiving Farm Assist payments has increased to more than 11,500, the latest statistics from the Department of Social Welfare have revealed.
Some 11,546 farmers were receiving Farm Assist payments of €196.70 per week as of March 31 this year.
This was an increase of almost 2,000 farmers compared to the same time in 2010 when 9,606 farmers were receiving payments.
The payment per week has been reduced by almost €15 in the past year, from €209.30 to €196.70.
A further 661 farmers have applied for the payment and are awaiting a decision by officials in the Department of Welfare on their application.
Meanwhile, figures released from the Department of Agriculture show that farm households tend to have much lower rates of consistent poverty than other urban or rural households even though farm income figures alone would suggest that there is a high proportion of low-income farm families.
The Department of Agriculture's Review and Outlook 2010/2011 reports that this has been a pattern for a number of years and suggests that farm households have lower rates of basic deprivation than other household groups such as urban and other rural dwellers.
The risk of poverty was lower among farm households than for urban households when compared at the 60pc relative poverty line.