Following today’s meeting of the IFA National Livestock Committee, Chairman Brendan Golden said a robust and frank discussion was held with ICBF Chief Executive Sean Coughlan at which members raised the genuine concerns of suckler farmers and pedigree breeders following the issuing of revised terminal and replacement indices.
“Members recognised the importance of having access to independent scientifically verifiable information to inform breeding decisions on farms. To be of benefit, this system must have the confidence of suckler farmers and pedigree breeders,” outlined Mr Golden.
The IFA Livestock Chairman said having heard the issues and concerns, ICBF CEO Sean Coughlan committed to convening an industry stakeholder forum to address them.
Brendan Golden continued, “It’s crucial the star rating system and associated indices have the confidence of suckler farmers and pedigree breeders by reflecting the realities of production systems on the ground. ICBF must move to convene the forum as a matter of urgency.”
The IFA Livestock Chairman has also called on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to play his part in alleviating the concerns of suckler farmers in relation to SCEP eligibility.
He said the changes have no immediate impact on farmers in the scheme as animals within herds retain their ratings and the next replacement index requirement is two years away on 31st October 2025. However, the Minister must go further and guarantee all farmers that the recent changes to the indices will not have any negative impact on SCEP eligibility or farming practices for the duration of the scheme.
“Farmers entered a 5-year contract with the Minister for Agriculture when signing up to the SCEP scheme in May of this year. The goalposts have now been moved and this is unacceptable,” said Mr Golden.
Brendan Golden concluded by asking the Minister to come forward as a matter of urgency to allay the concerns of suckler farmers by confirming that there will be no negative consequences for farmers in SCEP as a result of these changes.