IFA National Livestock Vice Chair Declan Hanrahan said the Budget announcement for supports for suckler cows represents an increase in the overall funding allocated by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to the sector, but payment rates per cow remain at €200.
He said the restated commitment by the Minister to honour the full payment rate for all suckler farmers in the SCEP for 2023 and to continue this in 2024 is important, but the rate of payment per cow must be revisited in this scheme and substantially increased in the mid-term review.
Declan Hanrahan said the funding commitment for the national scheme to run alongside the 5-year SCEP scheme of €20m is a reduction in funding commitment for this scheme and must be increased.
He said the Minister has committed to a payment of €200/cow. This must be available for all cows that join both schemes and increased if necessary to reflect participation levels.
The Vice Chair said the fiasco of this year’s National Beef Welfare scheme must be avoided. Leakage of monies from this scheme by including unnecessary and inappropriate measures must be addressed.
IFA has consistently set out the case for a payment of €300/cow. This has not been provided and our campaign will continue.
However, the critical issue for the moment is to ensure the €50/cow committed by the Minister in yesterday’s Budget is paid on all cows in the scheme, with leakage kept to an absolute minimum.
He said the measures required to receive payment must be practical to implement, add value on our farms and not add additional costs.
Declan Hanrahan acknowledged the dairy beef scheme and increased funding for 2024, but highlighted the need for significantly higher supports for calf rearing and for beef finishing farmers.
“It is disappointing the Minister has not put in place a beef sustainability payment for farmers rearing and finishing beef animals from both suckler and dairy herds. The Minister must come forward with additional proposals in this area to support beef farmers in contributing to our climate targets while maintaining output from the farm,” he said.
IFA will be meeting with the Department of Agriculture in the coming days to discuss the details of the schemes for 2024.