IFA Animal Health Chairman Bert Stewart said the issuing of guideline prices on a weekly basis by the Department of Agriculture that are not representative of actual market prices is compounding existing problems that farmers have with the live valuation scheme.
The IFA Chairman said market prices have strengthened for breeding animals and in particular dairy animals, but the Dept of Agriculture prices does not reflect this reality. “Some categories of animal have risen in price by up to €200/hd on the open market, with little or no recognition of this in the Department prices.”
The complete erosion of the independence of the live valuers in the scheme is also compounding the issue, with valuers forced to apply criteria that interferes with the independent market value assessment.
Bert Stewart said the live valuation scheme is the primary compensation scheme of the TB Eradication Programme. This is built on the principle of independent valuers determining the market value of animals being removed from the farm as TB reactors.
He said issues such as instructions to valuers to reduce the liveweight of animals being assessed by 25kg, to adhere to guideline prices unless documentary evidence is provided, and the threat of sanctions where kill out percentage or quality assessments are not within narrow and subjective parameters are all examples of how the scheme is failing farmers and removing the opportunity of a fair market value assessment.
Bert Stewart said IFA has raised this issue directly with the Minister and are demanding the re-establishment of the key principles of the scheme and the provision of a fair market value assessment for all TB reactor animals.