‘Decision on reopening of Genomics Programme to be made in first half of 2017’

The Department of Agriculture will hopefully be in a position in the first half of 2017 to make a decision on whether the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) will reopen this year, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has said.

Minister Creed was responding to a question on the genomics programme from Padraic Joyce, IFA’s Flood Project Team Chairman, at the associations’s AGM in Dublin this week.

The Minister said that the Department is currently working through the Rural Development Programme (RDP) profiling the expenditure to see what latitude it has in respect of reopening the scheme.

“We’ll hopefully be in a position to make a decision on that in the first half of 2017. It is something I’d like to do.”

Currently, participants in the genomics programme receive a payment of €142.50 for each of the first eligible 6.66ha and €120 for each of the remaining hectares up to the maximum payable area.

Joyce said that suckler cow farmers are under severe pressure financially at the present time.

A lot of the countries across Europe are supporting their suckler farmers to the tune of €200m. That is support that is badly needed in this country.

“As a matter of fact in the peripheral areas of this country suckler farmers are getting out of suckling altogether because it is not financially viable.

The Minister didn’t respond to Joyce’s query on whether he would support IFA’s campaign for €200/cow to support suckler farmers.

IFA is proposing that the level of direct support for the suckler cow herd should be increased to €200/cow, and also that the programme should be simplified and the cost to farmers reduced.

IFA believes that a direct payment in the order of €200/cow will be required to stabilise and maintain the suckler herd.