Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford John Browne has said the Beef and Genomics Programme represents a bad deal for farmers in the south east. Deputy Browne has called on Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to go back to Brussels to seek a better programme for farmers.
Deputy Browne said, “I have serious concerns over the current structuring of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme. It has serious implications for productive farmers in Wexford, many who have told me that the scheme is unworkable and needs to be changed.
“Farmers continue to highlight that the scheme is over complicated and will impose excessive costs on participants. The conditions attached to the scheme are turning away potential applicants. The Minister has put in place a rule that will bar any new applicants to the scheme following the close of applications, even if desirable changes are made to the scheme in the future.
“Minister Coveney has also put in place draconian rules that will see all payments made over the lifetime of the programme clawed back should farmers withdraw from the scheme. This is totally unreasonable and will have a negative impact on farmers who are forced to withdraw from the scheme due a change in their personal circumstances.
“Farmers should also be allowed apply to the scheme based on the size of their suckler cow herd in 2015. Limiting the scheme based on the number of cows calved in 2014 is restrictive and places an unnecessary limit on those who want to expand their herd size in the future.
“The Minister needs to take on board the concerns that farmers and agri-organisations have with the scheme. The outstanding issues in relation to the six year rule, star ratings and the overly bureaucratic nature of the scheme need to be resolved
Minister Coveney needs to go back to Brussels and fight for a better programme that will benefit Irish farmers. The Minister should use the Offices of Commissioner Hogan to achieve this” said Deputy Browne.