Ahi Focus Should Be on Commitments to Farmers in Existing Programmes

Rejecting a call from Animal Health Ireland (AHI) for extra financial resources from farmers, IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart said the priority of AHI should be to focus their existing resources towards delivery on their commitments to farmers under existing programmes.

Bert Stewart said AHI has a job of work to do to reassure farmers that their promises of BVD eradication would be achieved within the timeframes and costs set out.

He said more Government resources are definitely required for the TB Eradication programme as IFA has quantified the significant losses for those farmers impacted by the scourge of TB. “This level of loss is not sustainable for farmers in the TB programme and must be addressed immediately.”

Bert Stewart said the BVD Eradication programme and the pilot Johne’s programme are typical examples of the burden placed on farmers, who are paying €9m in testing costs alone for BVD. The Department contributes some limited support to some farmers with Pi calves. In the pilot Johne’s programme, he said farmers have been left to carry the largest proportion of the costs.

The IFA Chairman said improving the health status of the national herd will generate significant benefits for all stakeholders and it is not acceptable that the costs continue to be borne disproportionately by farmers.

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