IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Doran this week told the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith that the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme is critically important to maintaining the sucker cow herd and IFA is proposing that the payment rate be restored to €80 per cow for the 2010 scheme, which will be paid in 2011.

At an IFA pre-Budget meeting with Minister Smith, which was led by the IFA President John Bryan, National Livestock Chairman Michael Doran also lobbied the Minister hard on a number of other very important issues for livestock farmers including the AEOS Scheme, Disadvantage Area payments, animal health issues and Discussion Group payments.

Michael Doran said the Suckler Cow Welfare scheme must be retained and the payment rate can be restored to €80 per cow within the existing budget for the scheme.

The IFA livestock leader told Minister Smith the Suckler scheme has contributed real benefits to suckler farmers, cattle finishers and live exports. In addition, he said the Suckler scheme is essential to the important ICBF National Beef Breeding Programme.

Along with IFA Rural Development Chairman Tom Turley, Michael Doran emphasised the importance of protecting all of the vital farm schemes in the Budget including re-opening AEOS for farmers leaving REPS 3 and Disadvantage Area payments. He said, “Over 100,000 livestock farmers are dependent on these schemes and they must be fully protected in the Budget”.

Michael Doran also proposed to Minister Smith to extend the Discussion Group funding to the beef sector. He said this approach has been very successful on the dairy side and had the potential to be equally as effective for beef.

The IFA livestock leader also raised animal health issues and told the Minister there can be no increase in farmer levies or cuts in disease eradication schemes in the Budget.

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