06 Nov 2014
COST BURDEN OF BVD PROGRAMME MUST BE REDUCED FOR FARMERSAnimal Health
IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart has said while the BVD Programme is making progress in all of the key measures, including reduced numbers of PIs identified on farms, the cost burden of the Eradication Programme must be reduced for farmers.
The IFA Chairman said farmers who have completed three years of intensive higher cost monitoring and attained negative herd status, must be facilitated with reduced cost testing for 2015. Bert Stewart said, “Farmers entered the BVD eradication scheme in good faith and have made a huge financial investment on the clear understanding that testing costs would be greatly reduced for the 2 – 3 year monitoring phase after the 3 years of intensive testing was completed, AHI must ensure this commitment is honoured”.
He said the designated laboratories that have benefited from the programme to date, must provide testing at significantly reduced rates for these farmers to reflect the lower risk of PIs being identified in their herds and the resulting lower costs involved for the labs.
In relation to support payments, Bert Stewart said farmers who have identified over 10% of their calves as PIs must be supported with higher levels of payment. IFA is seeking a payment of €250 in these cases.
Bert Stewart said the Minister for Agriculture must provide targeted higher level payments to farmers losing over 10% of their calves and the supports must be continued for 2015. He said 2015 is a critical year for the BVD Eradication Programme and in order for it to achieve the objective of eradication, clear direction must be given in relation to the financial supports and incentives that will be available next year.
Targeted financial supports for farmers who are disproportionately affected by the programme are fundamental to ensuring that PI calves continue to be removed in a timely manner and eradication of BVD achieved.
The IFA Chairman has also called on the Department of Agriculture to have payments for 2013 and applications forms for the 2014 scheme issued promptly to eligible farmers.