Creed rules out topping up payments under Genomics scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has ruled out topping up the payments to farmers under the Beef Data and Genomics Program (BDGP).

Minister Creed addressed the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, where he said 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,” he said.

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.

To date, he said, 24,000 farmers are participating in the scheme and he is quite happy with this level of participation.

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

“Even skeptics 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.

Could the Genomics scheme reopen to farmers?

Responding to a question from Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, Creed said that his Department has an ambition to see the scheme reopen to other farmers.

There is provision of €300m in the lifetime of the Rural Development Programme for the scheme, he said, and he would prefer to spend  the money in a fashion that allows more farmers to take part in the program.

“We are better off sticking with the construct of the scheme and by getting more people into it,” he said.

Minister Creed also said that just 11,500 of the 24,000 farmers in the scheme have completed the carbon navigator requirement of the scheme.

To receive payment and to avoid penalties, farmers are required to have the carbon navigator completed by October 31.