IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Henry Burns said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must deliver a fully funded Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme of €40 per cow in next week’s Budget to keep his commitment to the beef and livestock sector and maintain suckler cow numbers.
Henry Burns said the Suckler Cow Welfare scheme is the only real link with production in the beef sector and it is critical to maintaining beef cow numbers going forward. He said maintaining a full Suckler Cow Welfare scheme is vital, at least until the CAP 2013 negotiations are concluded and Ireland can then consider the options on a coupled suckler cow payment.
The IFA livestock leader said Minister Coveney knows any water down version of the Suckler Cow Welfare scheme will not work in practice. He said IFA has conducted an intensive lobby of Government TDs who are all very strong in maintaining the scheme at €40 per cow.
Henry Burns said the Suckler Cow scheme is one of the priority issues set down in the Food Harvest 2020 report and its maintenance is essential for delivering the targets on jobs, growth and exports.
The IFA livestock leader encouraged suckler farmers to immediately get their weaning data back in on the 2012 scheme in order to guarantee payment before Christmas.
At a meeting with IFA this week, the Department confirmed that they had meal feeding data on 486,000 animals for 2012, but had weaning data on 344,000 to date. He said the Department can pay all animals that they receive weaning data on before Christmas and he urged farmers to return the data immediately. He said farmers have one more week to return data and get payment before Christmas.