IFA President Tim Cullinan has recognised the work of the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and his officials in finalising and launching the TB strategy document. He welcomed the inclusion of the critical issues identified by IFA in the strategy.
Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said the key areas included in the strategy which were highlighted by IFA include; meaningful farmer involvement; recognition of farmers’ labour and financial contribution; revisiting the herd risk letters; herd categorisation and pre-movement testing; an enhanced Wildlife Control Programme; better on-farm investigation of TB breakdowns; and the recognition of the importance of financial supports to farmers whose farms are under TB controls.
He said it better reflects the crucial role of farmers in the programme and provides for meaningful involvement by them in the design and implementation of the objectives.
The IFA Chairman said the provision of an implementation group comprising farmers and the Department of Agriculture is critical to allow for detailed discussion and agreement on the implementation of the high-level principles underpinning the strategy.
“Farmers will be the only stakeholders impacted directly by the TB programme in the day-to-day management of their farms. Using their expertise in determining the most appropriate means to implement the objectives of the strategy is critical to minimising the impact on farms,” he said.
The IFA Chairman said the inclusion of the financial supports to farmers in the programme as a key tenet, and recognising need for a review of these supports to ensure farmers are treated fairly, is significant.
Pat Farrell said the strategy also provides for the contentious issues of pre-movement testing and herd categorisation to be dealt with through the Implementation Group.
“It’s important the Implementation and Financial Working Groups are convened as soon as possible to agree on all aspects of the programme,” he said.
“We must strive to eradicate TB from the national herd in the shortest feasible timeframe. In doing so, we must be conscious of the impact on farm families who encounter TB outbreaks through no fault of their own. The measures must be proportionate and scientifically based, with appropriate levels of financial supports.”