IFA President John Bryan today (Mon) welcomed the launch of the new Beef Discussion Group programme by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.
Speaking at the Teagasc suckler cow event in Kilkenny mart, John Bryan said IFA worked hard to secure €5m funding for Beef Discussion Groups and this is a very positive initiative for the beef and livestock sector.
The IFA President said the Beef Discussion Group programme presents a major opportunity for Teagasc to deliver real results for the livestock sector at individual farm level. “The Discussion Group concept is well proven in dairying and this new programme provides a real opportunity for Teagasc to deliver to beef and livestock farmers.”
John Bryan said improving output, technical efficiency and profitability at farm level are key objectives set out in the Food Harvest 2020 Plan for the beef sector. He said participation in a Discussion Group will help encourage and drive farmers in a team approach in achieving these targets and securing strong growth in the beef sector.
The IFA President said increasing profitability at farm level is the major challenge for the livestock sector. He said, “As well as output, efficiency and costs, there is a major responsibility on the processing sector to maintain strong viable cattle prices in order to deliver increased farm profit. In addition, it is essential the Minister for Agriculture protects national funding for all the farm schemes and secures a strong outcome to the CAP 2013 negotiations.” He pointed out that Direct Payments make up a much higher proportion of income on beef and livestock farms.
John Bryan said costs at farm level associated with the Discussion Group programme must be kept to a minimum. He said up to 5,000 beef and suckler farmers should receive €1,000 per annum for participating in the programme, which will involve attending up to 6 discussion group meetings and a number of other tasks.
Encouraging beef and suckler farmers to apply for the scheme by the closing date of March 7th, John Bryan said farmers needed to get their application forms completed and back to Teagasc or their independent facilitator without delay.