Farm SCEP Issues Addressed

IFA President Francie Gorman said the latest announcement by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue addresses the issues for farmers with SCEP eligibility arising from the new ICBF indices.

IFA clearly set out at the start of this process that no farmer could be negatively impacted in SCEP from the changes to the indices.

“This latest announcement now provides this for suckler farmers and pedigree breeders in a pragmatic way,” he said.

“This now clears the way and creates the space for the work of the ICBF Stakeholder Forum to focus on the agreed actions of the last meeting and deliver indices that have the confidence and, critically, the trust of all farmers, including cow weights, carbon and the development of a weanling index.”

IFA Livestock chair Declan Hanrahan said today’s announcement means that any female animals whose star rating on the September 2023 index was 4 or 5 star and subsequently dropped on the new index will retain SCEP eligibility when purchased from SCEP and non-SCEP herds for the duration of the scheme. The same criteria are applied for Pedigree Bulls which had a 4 or 5 star rating in the September index that dropped on the new index.  These animals will retain SCEP eligibility when purchased from SCEP and non-SCEP farms.

This is in addition to female calves born in herds since the new indices were published where they do not meet SCEP eligibility in their own right. These animals will be deemed SCEP eligible if the dam was 3,4, or 5 star and sire 4 star 5 star and carry this eligibility when purchased from either a SCEP or non-SCEP herd.

All animals remaining within their current herd retain eligibility for SCEP having met the criteria at some point during BDGP or SCEP as previously announced and consistent with how these schemes have always operated.

If there are other issues that may arise outside these facilitation’s that impact on individual farmer SCEP eligibility these can be appealed through the normal channels.

He said with the SCEP concerns for suckler farmers and pedigree breeders now addressed, Teagasc and ICBF must get on with the agreed work programme from the last stakeholder meeting.

“The second meeting of the ICBF stakeholder forum resolved some issues and set a direction of travel on others to resolve the genuine concerns of suckler farmers and pedigree breeders with the indices,” he said.

Agreement has been reached on the inclusion of a minimum weight for cows in the index, reviewing the carbon piece and commencement of work by Teagasc on assessing the key factors and costings on weanling producing farms with the objective of developing a weanling index that reflects this production system.

Submissions will be taken on the upper weights issue and specifically on pedigree females to assess concerns and proposals in these areas. Phasing out of the Star Ratings is also under consideration.

IFA is seeking an index that fully reflects weanling production, the phasing out of the stars and continuing with a thorough examination of all components of the current indices in terms of inclusion, weighting and data sets used in a comprehensive manner to ensure both ICBF and the indices have the trust and confidence of suckler farmers and pedigree breeders when this process concludes.

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