€580,000 in penalties issued under BDGP scheme in respect of 2016 payments

A total of €580,000 in reductions have been issued under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) in respect of the 2016 scheme year.

The figures were revealed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, in response to a recent parliamentary question from Sinn Fein’s Agriculture Spokesperson, Martin Kenny.

To date, €41.9 million has been paid to 22,578 scheme participants in respect of the 2016 scheme year, Minister Creed confirmed.

Reductions were issued where the applicant was found to be non-compliant with the terms and conditions of the scheme. The application of penalties is in line with the terms and conditions of the scheme, he added.

The first phase of the BDGP scheme is set to run for six years, from 2015 to 2020. Originally, almost 30,000 applications to the scheme were received – but approximately 23,700 farmers continue to participate.

During 2016, payments amounting to almost €51 million were issued to BDGP participants; €14.6 million was issued in respect of the 2015 scheme year and €36.3 million in respect of the 2016 scheme year, Minister Creed said.

Approximately €8.7 million was paid in respect of training courses and to approved advisors for the completion of carbon navigators for applicants, he added.

The objective of the BDGP is to help lower the intensity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by improving the quality and efficiency of the national beef herd.

It is also hoped that the scheme will improve the genetic merits of the national beef herd, through the collection of data and genotypes of selected animals which will allow for the application of genomic selection in the beef herd.

Meanwhile, applicants were fully informed of their obligations under the programme through various measures – including nationwide information meetings, letters, texts and tweets – since the inception of the scheme, according to Minister Creed.

All applicants have completed a comprehensive, four-hour training course, he added.

This course was given by approved advisors and included clear explanation of all the conditions and responsibilities of each applicant under the programme.

“The department continues to communicate frequently with applicants regarding their responsibilities under the programme,” he concluded.