Clawback for the new Beef Data Genomics Programme will only apply where an individual withdraws from the scheme or is disqualified for major non-compliances.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney confirmed the decision following a meeting with the IFA.
With next Friday’s BDGP applications deadline looming, Mr Coveney sought to clarify issues raised by farming groups in recent weeks. He noted that where data collected is not 100% complete, where there is a minor shortfall in genotyping and heifer replacements, or where the carbon navigator is completed after the deadline, the penalties relate to that portion of the payment only.
“There is also no question whatsoever of BDGP penalties being applied across other schemes,” Mr Coveney said.
“If a penalty is applied for non-compliance with a BDGP requirement, the penalty will be calculated by reference to that non-compliance only. As is normal in all schemes, a payment already made may be recovered from the next payment, and it is possible that this standard provision may be causing confusion among applicants.”
Mr Coveney told farmers to examine the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document on the department’s website.
In relation to misgivings about signing up for a six-year contract, he said this was required for the scheme to qualify under the Rural Development Regulation. He said the department would monitor the operation of the scheme as it progresses and there will be a mid-term review of its provisions.
On using of 2014 as a base year for determining the payment, Mr Coveney indicated it was not possible to select a future date because a scheme approved under the RDP could not provide an incentive for increasing stock numbers.
Selecting 2014 also adds a measure of administrative simplicity for farmers that will facility early payments under the scheme. The provisions do allow the use of 2015 as an alternative base on an exceptional basis for new entrants or applicants impacted by force majeure circumstances in 2014.
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