Payments to farmers under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) for 2015 will issue to farmers as soon as they meet the requirements.

That’s according to Brendan Gleeson of the Department of Agriculture who was responding to questions from members of the Oireachtas Joint Agriculture Committee this week.

He said payments will roll into 2016 as farmers meet the requirements and confirmed that farmers will not have to wait till next year for payments.

Gleeson said that the Departments latest figures suggested that some 16,000 farmers have met the basic requirements for payment in 2015 to date.

The requirements include the return of farm survey details and the completion of genomic sampling. It is understood that farmers had until this week to meet these requirements to guarantee payment this year.

The Department has confirmed that they expect the final number of applicants to the genomics programme to be about 27,500 farmers.

This will involve about 590,000 suckler cows in the scheme.

ICBF confirmed that they have issued 354,000 tags (60% genotyping) of which 264,000 have been returned.

Speaking following the first meeting of the BDGP Monitoring Committee, IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said IFA raised all of the key issues for farmers at the meeting including payments, processing, star ratings, genotyping, tags and the six-year rule.

Burns said IFA made it very clear that there can be no hold up on payments under the scheme and farmers are expecting to receive payment in the second week of December.

He said the Department confirmed to IFA that 20,000 herd owners have returned tags and completed data sheets at this stage and these will be paid in the second week of December.

The Department also confirmed that they will continue to make payments as they receive additional tags and data and expect to have up to 24,000 applicants paid €35m by year end.