Welcoming confirmation of BVD support payments secured by IFA for farmers who disposed of PIs in 2015, Bert Stewart said the Department of Agriculture payment systems must be further improved on for the 2016 payments.
Almost €320,000 has been paid to more than 2,500 farmers.
The IFA Animal Health Chairman said the additional ex-gratia payment for both suckler and dairy farmers losing larger numbers of animals as PIs which IFA secured from 2014 onwards is also being issued to farmers. This provides increased support payments for suckler farmers and a payment for beef bred calves in qualifying dairy herds.
Bert Stewart said, “The Department of Agriculture must strengthen the levels of financial support available to farmers for the remainder of the BVD programme to off-set the increased costs associated with continued tissue tagging and the difficulties that have arisen for the programme due to the Department of Agriculture changes to the National Bovine Identification Tag supply arrangements”.
IFA is calling on the Department to directly support the purchasing of tissue sampling tags for farmers for the remainder of the programme to ensure all calves continue to be tested in a timely manner and the extra costs associated are not all borne by farmers.
He said farmers have invested over €45m to-date in the BVD programme. “In order to achieve a return on this investment, eradication must be achieved in the shortest time frame possible. However any increased costs to achieve this cannot be imposed on farmers.”