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This article appeared in the Finn Valley Voice and the Tirconaill Tribune on the 01st of January 2013 2013 NEW YEAR AND NEW TASKS AHEAD     The new year is here 2013 and all the bad weather and problems of 2012 are behind us.  There will be problems that we encountered in 2012 and we should all try or best not to repeat these same mistakes this year. We should sit down and work out a plan of action for the year and set ourselves certain tasks to aim for and areas to improve on.   We should start the year of on the correct path and keep all the necessary records filled up to date for the various enterprises on the farm. Areas to look at in the new year.   SHEEP CENSUS   Make sure your sheep census is filled out and submitted before the 11th of January 2013. This can be filled out on line.   BVD Tagging of calves   New to this year is the compulsory BVD tagging of all calves. All new tags ordered are the new BVD tags and the tissue sample must be sent of to the lab for testing. Register the calves within the correct timeframe and carry out the necessary actions when you receive the results.   ONLINE HERD REGISTER FOR CATTLE   If you haven’t already signed up to this facility make this a must in the new year. This does away with the need to keep the Blue book for animal movements. The only need to keep the blue book is to keep a record of your animal remedies.   NITRATES   The deadline for the submission of slurry export forms was extended to the 18th of January 2013. Make sure that your are under the limits for nitrates regulations.   HEALTH AND SAFETY   Every farmer should get a Risk Assessment Document filled out for their farm. This is a very useful document and is required by Bord Bia and could also prevent any fatal accidents from occuring on your farm. It highlights the danger areas on the farm.   SHEEP DISCUSSION GROUPS.   There will be funding available this year for the setting up of sheep discussion groups with a payment to each participating farmer if they attend so many meetings. This is something every sheep farmer should look at to see does it suit them to join as its another payment at the end of the year.   FARM ASSITANCE APPLICATION   Any farmer that is not making any money and is finding it hard to survive and pay their household bills each week and doesn’t have any other source of income should look into the farm assit scheme. This is a scheme that is open to all farmers if your level of income is below a certain level. There is no shame in applying and if you are not eligible then you won’t qualify for a payment.   BTAP SCHEME The BTAP scheme is open again in 2013. Those that joined the scheme in 2012 are guaranteed three years. It is not clear yet if the scheme will be open to new entrants in 2013. If it is then any suckler or beef fattening farmer not already in the scheme should look into it.   CROSS COMPLIANCE   Start the year of on the correct note in relation to cross compliance. We are going to run short courses on the points to look out for. It would be well worth attending.   Mark Mc Connell Consultancy ltd and Auctioneers, The Glebe, Stranorlar, Lifford, Co. Donegal T/F 074 91 30772

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