IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns has said that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney needs to immediately announce the opening of the new Beef Data and Genomics Scheme for suckler farmers.
He said the EU has given the go-ahead for this scheme and applications should be sent out to all suckler farmers without any further delay to make sure payments of €100 and €80 per cow are made by year end.
Henry Burns said IFA has had a number of meetings with the Department on the scheme and has written to Minister Coveney expressing serious concerns that the criteria and conditions around the scheme have been over complicated and will swallow up a large amount of the financial benefit to the farmer in additional and unnecessary costs.
In addition, Henry Burns said there is a high level of concern among farmers about the direction of the scheme on breeding and where the bar is being set, in terms of the requirements put on farmers. He said suckler farmers cannot be left in a position where they are required to comply with something that is very costly or not practical at farm level.
The IFA Livestock leader added that suckler farmers are very concerned that the ICBF material index is being reviewed and developed and has a long way to go. He said there is a lot of debate and confusion around this including in ICBF and Teagasc .He said Minister Coveney needs to be very careful that the beef genomics scheme dose not try and force farmers to jump ahead of what is realistic achievable and practical on the ground.