Penalties mount as BDGP hurdles get higher

Penalties mount as BDGP hurdles get higher
As the demands of the BDGP became more difficult, more and more farmers have incurred penalties for not completing the actions required.

Amounts deducted from BDGP payments, due to required actions not being completed on participating farms, jumped to €1,868,226 for 2019, compared to €1,186,912 for 2018.

The penalties in 2017 totalled €920,367.

In 2018, a major requirement of BDGP participants was for the number of replacement heifers rated at four or five stars to be at least 20% of the herd.

For 2019, the requirement was for participating farms to have either a four or five-star stock bull, or use four or five star AI for 80% of breeding on the holding.

Speaking in the Dail last week about the BDGP, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said his Department, either directly or in conjunction with ICBF, identified and engaged with farmers falling short of these requirements, to assist them in achieving compliance with the scheme.

“In both years, I arranged for flexibility in my Department’s approach to these requirements, to assist farmers in meeting their obligations, a flexibility that is similarly being applied this year, where the replacement four or five-star replacement heifer requirement is 50% of the reference figure.

“All BDGP participants who were identified as having difficulty in meeting this requirement were written to this year, to advise them of what options were available to them to avoid a penalty.”

Participating herds must have 50% of their reference number as eligible four or five star-star females on October 31, 2020.

Minister Creed said the BDGP (Beef Data and Genomics Programme) provides funding of €300 million over its six-year programme and addresses widely acknowledged weaknesses in the maternal genetics of the Irish suckler herd; makes a positive contribution to farmer profitability; and reduces the greenhouse gas intensity of Ireland’s beef production.

There are currently some 24,000 participants in the BDGP and it provides for annual payments to participating farmers for completion of defined actions.

Where these actions are not completed, penalties will be applied.

The Minister was answering a question from Sligo-Leitrim, Sinn Fein TD Martin Kenny.

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