IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns has said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney needs to announce the opening of the new €100/€80 per head Beef Cow Genomic scheme without any further delay.
He said there is great interest in this scheme and farmers need to start completing their applications at this stage in order to deliver payments in the autumn as promised.
Henry Burns said this is a very important scheme in terms of maintaining the national sucker cow herd and our €2bn quality beef sector into the future. He said many member states across Europe have gone down the route of a coupled payment to protect their suckler herds and the new Genomic scheme can play an important role in maintaining the herd in Ireland. On reports that the scheme will be paid on a per hectare basis, Henry Burns said it is essential that the scheme is clearly focused on maintaining cows in the suckler herd.
The IFA Livestock leader said it is essential that both costs and bureaucracy under the scheme are kept to an absolute minimum for it to deliver maximum results for farmers and the beef sector. He said “We have to learn from previous schemes, such as the Suckler Cow Welfare scheme. The clear lesson is that when the scheme was over complicated and the costs were excessive relative to the benefits, the scheme ran into problems, with participation in the scheme falling.”
Henry Burns said it is very important that there is no major additional cost on farmers over and above those that applied last year. He said “genomics testing is expensive and it is important the costs to the farmers are not increased, as this will erode the value of the €100/€80 per cow.”