Farmers assured they have nothing to fear in Beef Data Genomics Programme

Genomic sampling for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is likely to be significantly cheaper than last year’s €30, says Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.

“Because the numbers involved will be significantly higher, we will benefit from economies of scale, and we will have a competitive process to get the price down further from where it was last year,” he said.

Costs associated with training, and the advisor’s costs associated with completing the carbon navigator are paid separately from the €142.50 and €120 per hectare payments which farmers will receive in the BDGP.

The cost of carbon navigator work in conjunction with an approved advisor will be covered separately, and will not be deducted from the farmer’s payment.

The farmer will also be provided with an additional €166 to compensate for the time and travel costs associated with attending the BDGP training course.

He said farmers have nothing to be frightened of in the scheme. “If someone is forced out of the scheme because something dramatic happens or so on, we will consider the question of force majeure, as we do when farmers are forced out of other schemes. We understand that such things happen, but we want a medium-term, six-year commitment from farmers. This is not simply an annual cash payment for having a suckler herd. It is a programme that has some complexity to it but that farmers understand.”

The requirement to seek full refund of payment only applies in the event of permanent withdrawal from the scheme. But no scheme participant would be required to return their funding for minor non-compliances.

“The reason we need a six-year commitment is that if we are going to collect DNA data in the first couple of years, it will only be in the second half of the scheme that we will see the genetic improvements that come from the collected data.

“In common with other agri-environmental schemes, where a participant does not undertake all of the commitments for the full duration of the Programme, or withdraws from the Programme, then any payments already made will be recovered.

“It is possible however that in certain “force majeure” circumstances, a participant may withdraw from the Programme without penalty. “Force majeure” circumstances specified in the regulations include the death of a beneficiary so in that unfortunate event, provided all terms and conditions had been complied with up until the death of the beneficiary, there would be no clawback of monies already paid.

“This is not a scheme that is simply pumping €95 per calved cow, for the first ten, and €80 per animal after that, to support suckler farm income.

“We are training farmers to use the scientific genomic data that we will collect from their herds, matched with the performance data farmers will provide,, to help them do that. ”


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