Anomaly in Beef Welfare Scheme Must be Resolved Before Opening Date – IFA

Following confirmation of the measures to be included in the Beef Welfare Scheme, IFA Livestock chair Declan Hanrahan said serious issues must be addressed before it opens. 

Declan Hanrahan said IFA raised these issues with the Department of Agriculture last Spring.  Suckler farmers needed to know if the intention was to run the scheme for calves born between July 2023 to June 2024, and the measures required.  Autumn 2023 born calves have now been sold and the opportunity to carry out the actions has passed.

The Minister has only today confirmed for the first time the measures required – meal feeding and vaccination of calves born in the reference period.

The IFA livestock chairman said this is unacceptable and must be revisited before the scheme opens in August. In particular, farmers with Autumn born weanlings were not provided with any clarification of the measures required to qualify, and as such are effectively frozen out.

“The Minister cannot stand over a situation where he provides details of a scheme requiring actions on farm when the animals are gone,” he said.

The IFA livestock chair said the inclusion of the maximum number of animals eligible for payment in the scheme as a serious issue for suckler farmers. “While the vast majority of suckler farmers have fewer than 40 cows, those with more than 40 cows and who are heavily dependent on the income from their suckler herd cannot be penalised. All suckler cows should qualify for the measures carried out.”

Declan Hanrahan said the 2024 Beef Welfare Scheme is a vital support for suckler farmers. It’s important all suckler farmers are provided with the opportunity to participate, and to receive payment on all suckler cows in their herds.

He said the Minister for Agriculture must address the issues which IFA highlighted to his officials since the start of the year as they undermine the credibility and value of the scheme for some suckler farmers.

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