Budget 2021: Minister outlines €102 million in livestock farming supports

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has outlined funding of €102 million for livestock farming, part of his department’s allocation under Budget 2021.

Of this, €85 million will be directed towards “sustainable” beef farming. This will be comprised of €40 million funding for an extension of the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP) during the transition period of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

There will also be €40 million for a ‘Beef Sector Efficiency Pilot’ scheme, which will be based on the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot – Suckler (BEEP-S) scheme.

On top of that, there will be an additional €5 million for a new calf weighing measure to support beef farmers rearing dairy calves, according to the minister.

The remainder of the €102 million will be made up of €17 million directed towards the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

Minister McConalogue also outlined the provision of €450 million for the continuations of current scheme, including the Green, Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) and the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme.

€80 million will be directed towards the continuation of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS).

On the establishment of a food ombudsman – as outlined in the Programme for Government – the minister said that legislation will be drafted in 2021 for the establishment of such an office. An initial provision of €1 million will be allocated to assist with its start-up costs.

Meanwhile, Minister of State with responsibility for new market development, farm safety and research development, Martin Heydon, noted the increased funding for Bord Bia.

Minister Heydon also welcomed the fact that provisions for the department’s competitive research programmes, Teagasc and the Marine Institute have all been increased, as has provision for a number of farm safety initiatives, which would include a greater focus on safety in farmer training.

Minister of State with responsibility for land use and biodiversity, Pippa Hackett, noted the ring-fencing of €23 million from the Carbon Tax, along with and additional €56 million funding from the EU, for a range of pilot environmental measures funded to the tune of €79 million.

Minister McConalogue highlighted that these pilots will inform the development of a “major new environmental scheme”.

The Programme for Government committed the government to a “flagship environmental scheme” – which has been informally referred to as ‘REPS Mark II’.

Minister McConalogue also noted that around €10 million of that €79 million will be directed towards the tillage sector to alleviate pressures there.