IFA Animal Health chair TJ Maher said the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue must come forward with a comprehensive support package for the BVD programme, as farmers costs for testing soar.
TJ Maher was commenting following increases of 35 cent to the BVD test. Postage has increased almost three-fold since testing became mandatory in 2013, leaving farmers paying well over €2 more for each test.
“Farmers entered the BVD programme in good faith; they have invested close on €120m and met their obligations, bringing it to within touching distance of recognised BVD Freedom. It is now time for the Minister to play his part and set out his funding proposals for 2024 and future years,” he said.
The IFA Animal Health chair said the payments for last year of just €2/sample for a maximum of 25 samples per farm must be built on to cover the full extent of the testing costs which farmers have carried since the start of the programme, as this is effectively eroded following the latest cost increases.
TJ Maher said the successful conclusion of the BVD programme from a farmers’ perspective will be critical in determining if there is a future role for the AHI model and the levels of support, if any, for tackling issues such as IBR.
He said farmers are rightly furious at the lack of Government support for the BVD programme to-date and the behaviour of AHI in recent weeks and months in relation to the approach to IBR.
“Both the Minister and AHI have a job of work to do to restore farmers’ confidence in the AHI model. The starting point for this is a satisfactory response to the on-farm testing costs for BVD,” he concluded.