Reminder: BDGP extension deadline tomorrow

Farmers are being reminded that the deadline to opt into the extended Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) for the coming year is tomorrow (Friday, January 15).

The scheme has been extended to cover the period between the end of the last Common Agricultural Policy and the commencement of the next, which is expected to be a two-year period. Funding for CAP schemes for this year was provided in Budget 2021.

Farmers can signal their intention by responding to the department text message (DAFM Y to opt into the scheme for this year; DAFM N to not opt in) or through the Agfood online portal.

According to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), some 17,000 farmers (out of around 21,000 contacted) have responded.

Brendan Golden, the IFA’s national livestock chairperson, said: “This is a crucial scheme for suckler farmers and it’s imperative that the minister [Charlie McConalogue] and the Department of Agriculture include all farmers who want to continue in the scheme.”

According to Golden, issues remain for some farmers in trying to apply, who may then miss the deadline as a result.

No farmer can be left out of the scheme because of technical issues, and flexibility must be provided to the deadline in these cases.

The IFA national livestock chairperson also said that “there is a cohort of farmers who participated throughout the scheme, but due to unforeseen circumstances, they did not qualify for payment last year”.

“These farmers must be provided with the opportunity to join the scheme for 2021,” he insisted.