Farmers would have to do more work to get more money under BDGP – Minister
Any increase in payments under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme would also require scheme participants to undertake additional actions, according to the Minster for Agriculture, Michael Creed.
Responding to questioning on the scheme from Fianna Fail Agriculture Spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue he said this is because BDGP payments are made on a cost incurred/income foregone basis as per the rules of the EU Rural Development Programme.
He also said any such increase would also require the approval of the EU Commission and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The Minister said an analysis of the numbers of reference cows held by scheme participants indicates that 223,942 cows out of the total of 534,064 are currently paid at the higher rate under the scheme. This is because these cows are on farms with 10 or less reference cows or are the first 10 cows on farms with more than 10 reference animals.
As these animals are currently paid at the rate equivalent to €90 per animal, it would cost an additional €25.6m per annum to bring this payment up to €200.
There have been numerous calls for the Minister to increase the levels of payment under the scheme.
Of the almost 25,000 herds that continue to participate in the BDGP full or part payments amounting to €40m have issued to in excess of 22,000 herds in respect of the 2015 scheme year, according to Minister Creed.
He said part payments were made where not all of the required data and genotyping samples had been submitted. Payments continue to be made on an ongoing basis as compliance is verified, he said.
Minister Creed also said that the Department has recently written to those herds who have outstanding data and/or genotyping samples reminding them to submit these by July 29.
Supplementary payments will be made to those herds who have submitted the additional data and genotyping in the coming weeks. Payments in respect of the 2016 scheme year will commence in December following the completion of the required administrative checks, the Minister said.