BDGP funding will be ring fenced despite underspend – Minister
The Minister for Agriculture, Micheal Creed has committed to spending the Beef Data Genomics Programme’s full €300m budget over the next five years.
This is despite a significant underspend of €17m in the first year of the programme.
Speaking in the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture this week, the Minister said the Department won’t let a brown cent’ of the allocated funding after us in terms of the draw down of EU funding.
“We will use all of the funding for the scheme,” he stressed.
He said the underspend in year one was a result of the late establishment of the scheme in 2015 and fluctuations in the applicants to the scheme.
Department under spent on the scheme in 2015 ran to 17m, with €35m set to be paid out under the scheme for 2015.
As a result of the underspend, there has been a number of calls for the scheme to be reopened to new applicants.
Minister Creed said a decision on whether the scheme will be reopened remains under active consideration.
“If the figures facilitate the reopening of the scheme it is something I will look at,” he said.
The Minister said the scheme has the potential to revolutionise the beef sector in the same way the EBI has done for the dairy sector.
A total of 29,865 applicants were accepted into the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, of which 4,615 applicants have now withdrawn.
Of those herds that had withdrawn 125 applicants subsequently requested re-entry and were duly accepted. A further 132 herds have been excluded due to the absence of eligible animals.
Meanwhile, approximately 1,200 herds have not returned any genomic samples. The Department recently issued a letter to all of these applicants and is finalising the position regarding each applicant as replies are received.
A further 3,000 herds have not submitted sufficient samples and/or data to be eligible for payment at this point.
Department will shortly make contact with these herdowners to remind them to submit all outstanding samples and/or data to facilitate payment.
To date, 23,066 farmers have submitted data notifications under the Beef Data and Genomics Program (BDGP). 23,464 farmers have submitted genotyping samples.