IFA: ‘Unacceptable’ that some BDGP payments still not paid

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has criticised the handling of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) payments, saying some farmers still have not been paid due to ongoing inspections.

The continuing inspections, which are being carried out by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the scheme, is delaying payments to “hundreds of farmers”, according to the association’s national livestock committee chairman Angus Woods.

The department confirmed to AgriLand that, as of yesterday (Wednesday, February 7), 22,229 individual payments had been made under the scheme.

Speaking to AgriLand, Woods claimed that 1,200 inspections were still being carried out as part of the scheme.

In a statement, the IFA said it had taken up the matter with the department, and “insisted on immediate payment”.

“Suckler farmers are on their knees financially, and it is not acceptable that some farmers are still waiting on their BDGP payments, just because the department have not got around to carrying out the inspections,” argued Woods.

He called on Minister Michael Creed to “cut through the red tape and bureaucratic delays”, and to remove all blockages to payments.

Minister Creed

Speaking to AgriLand last week (Thursday, January 31), Minister Creed defended the BDGP scheme, saying it allows farmers to make informed decisions.

“The point here is you can have fabulous-looking cattle, but they eat all around them, and they may not be the most cost-effective,” argued the minister.

“Those cattle might only produce a weanling as good as a cow that only eats half as much, and that’s really where costs and margins come in, and that’s where the beef industry needs to focus,” he added.