Close to 10 farmers a day are withdrawing from the Beef Data & Genomics Programme, which clearly shows there is a need for the Agriculture Minister to clarify aspects of the new suckler cow scheme, states Denis Naughten TD.
“Farmers have expressed serious concerns to me regarding the conditions of the new Beef Data & Genomics Programme, and as farmers begin to see the roll out of this scheme some are starting to exit it,” he explained.
“Clearly the Department’s reassurances have not alleviated some farmer concerns around the scheme, this is not good for its success which is vital to the survival of suckler farmers,” stated Denis Naughten, who raised the matter in the Dáil this week.
He added: “While the Minster’s commitment to the suckler sector is very welcome, and the clarifications on the scheme provided in July have reassured some farmers, it is clear from these figures that further clarification and changes to the Beef Data & Genomics Programme are still required.
“The fact is that without a workable suckler support scheme the viability of many family farms will be seriously undermined. Many farmers entered this scheme reluctantly and are waiting to see how it is rolled out before making a final decision on whether to stay with the Beef Data & Genomics Programme or exit the scheme. It is in everybody’s interest that this is a success and I hope that Minister Coveney will review how the conditions of the scheme are implemented by his Department.”
Parliamentary Question No. 554
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the EU and Exchequer funding provision for the Beef Data and Genomics Scheme in 2015; the number of applications received; the number of applications withdrawn; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Denis Naughten.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015.
Ref No: 32155/15 Proof: 655
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine : (Simon Coveney)
The closing date for the Beef Data & Genomics Programme was 05 June 2015 and m y Department received 29 ,531 valid applications for the programme . As of yesterday, 724 applicants have subsequently withdrawn from the Programme which amounts to less than 3% of all valid applica tions .
The Deputy will be aware that I have provided a package worth over €70 million for the beef sector in 2015. This includes €52 million for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) which forms part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme, and will involve a budget of some €300m over a six year period. The BDGP is intended to improve the quality of the national suckler herd and deliver an accelerated improvement in the environmental sustainability of the beef herd through the application of genomics technology.
The BDGP builds upon the large investment in data recording and genomics which has been made in recent years, and will ultimately bring about fundamental and strategic improvements to the entire sector by substantially improving the overall genetic quality of the Irish beef herd. It represents a major vote of confidence in the beef sector from this government and t he initial participation figures are very positive . Implementation of the scheme is now well underway and my Department and the ICBF are working closely with the scheme participants on the various requirements.