Calls made for dairy-beef production incentive

A formal proposal has been put to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to provide an incentive for dairy-beef production.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association’s (ICMSA’s) president Pat McCormack has welcomed the announcement of a €1.5 million support scheme for calf rearing – designed to cover a 40% grant for computerised calf feeders, milk carts and calf pen dividers among other items.

However, McCormack said the scheme should be “demand-led” with a fast-track approval system so applicants could be guaranteed approval within five days.

With an opening date of January 7, 2020, and with calving starting on most farms in mid to late January, it is essential that there is a rapid turnaround on approvals so farmers have certainty on the grant they will receive.

“ICMSA understands that a farmer will be able to make the purchase on the date of application but this leaves a disquieting level of uncertainty as to whether the farmer will qualify for the grant or not,” the ICMSA president noted.

Opportunity

McCormack mentioned the opportunities in the dairy-beef sector. He said: “Dairy-beef production represents an opportunity for farmers but ICMSA firmly believes that an appropriate incentive is required to develop this sector.

The minister has funding available under Budget 2020 and we are firmly of the view that this funding is best utilised to develop a profitable dairy-beef production system with significant benefits for the wider rural economy and the environment.

Concluding, McCormack said: “We are convinced and have the evidence that sustainable dairy-beef production is the solution to multiple questions that require urgent answering.”