New Beef Welfare Scheme is for Service Providers, Not Farmers

IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said the National Beef Welfare Scheme announced by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue is a support for service providers, not farmers. 

“This is such a poorly designed scheme. The payment per farmer is far too low and on too few cows.  Most of it will leak to vets, laboratories and others. The inclusion of IBR testing is a huge error of judgment by the Minister,” he said. 

The scheme is an insult to suckler farmers and fails miserably to deliver on his commitment to provide suckler farmers with a replacement scheme for BEEP-S with similar ambition and practical measures.

A suckler farmer in BEEP-S with 25 cows received €84/cow.  This scheme will only return €47/cow to that farmer while also requiring additional actions that are cost prohibitive and add nothing to the income of the farm.

“The inclusion of the IBR testing component and the associated costs farmers will incur is a serious error of judgment by the Minister, making suckler farmers merely conduits for transferring money to vets and testing laboratories. We estimate that, for a farmer with 20 animals, 80% of the IBR payment will be directly leaked to vets and laboratories. Factor in the extra time and effort the farmer has to put in and you’re at 100% leakage. Farmers cannot be expected to work for nothing,” he said.

IFA has highlighted our rejection of including IBR testing in the scheme to the Minister and his officials.  They have ignored this and the views of suckler farmers and have proposed a scheme that is not fit for purpose.

“Suckler farmers will not be taken for fools by the Minister with this pathetic offering. He must go back to the drawing board with his officials to identify practical measures that add value to our farms,” he said.

This scheme must be redesigned; practical measures included; payment rates increased; and ceilings brought in line with the BEEP-S it is replacing,” he concluded.

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