FUNDING of €1.8 million to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation and Sheep Ireland for a range of beef, dairy and sheep breed improvement projects was announced yesterday.
Minister Brendan Smith said the investment is designed to help improve the quality and profitability of livestock production and to improve the competitiveness of Irish agriculture. All farmers and their industry partners will benefit.
On the cattle side the funding is focusing on supporting the continued development of the beef and dairy breeding infrastructures, including extension to cater for the use of the rapidly developing genomic technologies, and the GeneIreland progeny test programme.
Noting that Sheep Ireland is a newly established entity, associated with the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, he said funding is being allocated to establish a modern and advanced sheep breed improvement programme.
Mr Smith said the long-term goal of this programme is to increase the productivity and profitability of the entire Irish sheep sector.
The support for sheep breeding is towards the building of a database, creation of a data capture and recording system, a new genetic evaluation system and a central progeny testing scheme.
“I have always been committed to providing funding to ICBF as they have demonstrated an outstanding ability in developing a livestock breeding infrastructure that will maximise profit from cattle breeding and now also from sheep breeding.
“I am providing funding for a range of areas that are essential to keep Ireland at the forefront of international cattle and sheep breeding activities.”
Mr Smith said he was particularly pleased with the establishment of Sheep Ireland and commended all those involved — the Board of the federation, the Sheep Breed Societies and farmers — for working together in a collaborative effort for the long-term good of Irish sheep farmers.
He wished the endeavour well and encouraged sheep farmers and the industry to proactively support the initiative.
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