Almost 6,000 farmers withdraw from Genomics Programme

Approximately 5,700 farmers have withdrawn from the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, according to figures from the Department of Agriculture.

Just under 30,000 farmers applied to join the Genomics Programme by the June 5, 2015 closing date.

To date, 24,000 farmers have received approximately €44m in respect of their 2015 payment with the Department finalising the last remaining 2015 query cases in advance of the 2016 payments.

Payments for the 2016 Genomics Programme are expected to start issuing to farmers in December.

Last month, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, ruled out topping up the payments to farmers under the programme.

Addressing the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, he said that any additional payment under the scheme would require farmers to undertake additional tasks.

“It would require an amendment to the scheme, which has been approved under the Rural Development Program, and that is a cumbersome enough process in itself.”

The Minister also said that he or his Department has no intention to seek a top-up for the existing farmers in the scheme, as it could potentially lead to payment difficulties.

“I think the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, as constructed, is quite an innovative and progressive scheme.

“Even sceptics to the scheme have come around to its value and recognise its potential for it to achieve what EBI has done for the dairy industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, under the Genomics Programme applicants have just one week to submit their completed carbon navigators, which are a key requirement under the programme.

The deadline for the submission of carbon navigators is Monday, October 31 and farmers who fail to meet the deadline could face penalties.

Participants in the scheme must get in contact with a trained adviser to complete the carbon navigator and a full list of advisers is available on the Department of Agriculture’s website.

Once an appointment is made with an adviser, the process of completing the carbon navigator should take about two hours to carry out, according to the Department.

The Department will cover the cost of the approved adviser for the completion of the Carbon Navigator with the farmer’s cost incorporated into the annual Genomics payment.