The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has called for the removal of the €3,000 cap on the compensation that farmers can receive for Bovine Tuberculosis (TB), to “ensure farmers are not seriously shortchanged”.

Chair of the ICSA’s Animal Health and Welfare Committee chair Hugh Farrell, has said that the limit on the amount of compensation that can be awarded for an individual bovine animal is “outdated” and not in line with market value.

He added that by failing to remove these caps, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is “playing around with farmers’ money”.

Speaking about the issue, Farrell explained that the On Farm Market Valuation scheme (OFMV) was created to ensure that farmers receive compensation that is in line with the price an animal would likely make on the open market. However capping the value has prevented many farmers from getting this. He said:

“This prevents farmers with cattle valued in excess of €3,000 from getting the compensation they deserve.

“It is now common to see cattle selling for above €3,000 in the marts on a regular basis so it is clear that these caps must be removed in order to fairly compensate farmers.”

Currently, the only exceptions to this limit are stock or pedigree stock bulls, which can be compensated by up to €4,000 or €5,000 respectively. Farrell has called for this to be changed.

“The department simply cannot ignore the fact that cattle, and pedigree cattle in particular, have become more valuable, and farmers who are not compensated to the true value of their animals are being wiped out,” he said.

“Not only that but valuable pedigree bloodlines are being wiped out as these farmers are not being facilitated through the OFMV to replace like with like.”

Farrell also said that the TB Forum must start focusing on the financial aspects of the eradication scheme, he stated:

“Week in, week out additional disease prevention measures are being placed on farmers by the department while they continue to drag their heels on negotiations around additional financial supports for farmers.

“The department must square up to the reality that farmers cannot do more unless they move on increasing compensation levels which must start with removing these outdated caps,” he concluded.