Some 24,000 applications from suckler to the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) have been received by the Department of Agriculture, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

He said he extended the deadline for scheme applications to next Friday, June 5, in order that as many suckler farmers as possible can join and as of yesterday the Department had received over 24,000 applications

“I am encouraging other suckler farmers to submit their application before this revised deadline.”

The BDGP forms part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme and will provide suckler farmers in Ireland with funding of some €300m over the next six years.

According to the Minister the BDGP builds on the investment in data recording and genomics in recent years, and will ultimately bring about long-term improvements to the sector by fundamentally improving the genetic quality of the beef herd.

ICSA president Patrick Kent has welcomed this morning’s announcement of a one-week extension to the closing date for the Beef Data and Genomics Scheme.

“ICSA lobbied strongly for this extension at our meeting with the Department last Friday, and we are pleased to see that our concerns and the concerns of our members were taken on board,” he said.

Kent said the extension is a recognition that there simply hasn’t been enough time given to fully explaining the scheme and its possible ramifications for suckler farmers.

“We are now asking Minister Coveney to use this extra time to resolve all outstanding concerns which are preventing farmers from applying, particularly the six-year contract, issues around star-ratings and unannounced inspections,” he said.