The first information meetings for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) are to commence on the week beginning October 12, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has announced.

The information meetings are part of a programme of events for BDGP participants which also include dedicated BDGP farm walks and engagement through trade media.

Commenting on the announcement the Minister said that this programme of engagement builds on the commitment that he made to BDGP participants that we would work closely with each of them in implementing the scheme.

“The BDGP is a new and innovative programme from which almost 30,000 Irish suckler farmers will benefit over the next six years.

“It’s a world first in terms of bringing genomic technology to beef farming and can revolutionise beef breeding in this country and help to drive on-farm profitability while adding greatly to our national sustainability agenda,” he said.

The Genomics information meetings will commence on the week beginning Monday October 12 with the first meetings that week confirmed for:

  • Monday, October 12, Gleneagle Hotel Killarney, Co. Kerry.
  • Wednesday, October 14, Silver Springs Hotel, Cork.
  • Thursday, October 15, Brandon House Hotel New Ross, Co. Wexford.

These sessions will commence at 8.00pm and will be preceded by one-on-one sessions with farmers to discuss any issues that they might not want to bring up at the main meetings, the Department said.

The Genomics information meetings will be organised by the Department with presentations on the evening also by Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and Teagasc focussing on how participants can best complete the actions under the scheme, while also maximising the potential benefits which the scheme can offer to their farm.

In addition to the presentations and question and answer sessions at the meetings, the Department and ICBF will also have its staff available on the day so that participants can engage individually on issues of interest on the scheme.

Participants will be encouraged to bring along their individual ICBF report to discuss on the day.

Further meetings will be arranged in Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Limerick, Cavan, Donegal for the subsequent two-week period and details will be announced shortly. Scheme participants will be contacted directly to inform them of upcoming meetings.

“The BDGP provides a unique opportunity for suckler farmers to receive substantial payments for measures that will help to improve profitability and make their farm enterprises more sustainable.

“I committed in July when I wrote to each scheme participant to ensure that my Department, along with ICBF would work in partnership with suckler farmers to help them achieve their goals under the scheme.

“The programme of events over the next few weeks will be the next stage in this participation. The experience with individual farmers at my Department’s stand at the Ploughing Championships was that any remaining concerns that participants had were very much alleviated by engagement with staff on the department’s stand.

“I would encourage all participants to use the opportunity to engage with my Department and ICBF,” the Minister said.