Farmers excluded from TB Forum, costs escalate

Farmers excluded from TB Forum, costs escalate
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Farmers have been denied a voice in the TB Forum, despite being the single largest contributor to TB eradication, said Pat Farrell, IFA’s animal health chairman.

Mr Farrell said that the forum, established by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed under the chairmanship of Michael Cronin, has merely functioned as a vehicle for the Department of Agriculture to impose their views, while continuing to ignore the voice of farmers.

The IFA also notes that the costs of the programme to farmers have risen by 15% since 2012, while the costs of other contributors have reduced.

Direct farmer contributions increased by €4.513m from €30.641m to €35.154m, DAFM contributions reduced by €289,000 from €45.825m to €45.536m and the EU Co-financing reduced by €1.337m from €11.085m to €9.748m.

The funding shift between 2012 and 2018 represents an increase of 15% for farmers, a reduction of 1% for the national exchequer and a reduction of 12% by the EU.

“IFA made detailed submissions on necessary changes to the Live Valuation Scheme, Income Supplement Scheme, Depopulation Grant Scheme and the Hardship Grant to offset the burden on farmers,” said Mr Farrell.

However, the representatives of the Minister for Agriculture at the Forum have stated they will not support any increases to compensation rates for farmers. This has frustrated the work of the Forum and prevented any meaningful progress.

He said the TB burden has gone on for too long and eradication must be the objective, but this will need more than just tightening controls on farmers, increasing their costs, while ignoring the stress, trauma and economic impact these controls have on farmers and their families.

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