Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has accused the Agriculture Minister of failing to address the concerns of hundreds of farmers across the country who are experiencing major problems with the new Beef Data and Genomics Programme.

Around 1,000 farmers attended a meeting in Claremorris last week where they outlined the failings of the scheme.  They are looking for Minister Simon Coveney to make changes to the scheme, specifically relating to the six year rule, star ratings and the overly bureaucratic nature of the application process.

Deputy Calleary commented, “The level of anger being felt by farmers across Mayo was clearly evident at last week’s meeting.  Farmers have spent the past number of months highlighting the concerns they have relating to elements of the scheme however Minister Coveney has failed to address their fears.  The best assurance he has been able to give farmers is that the scheme will be reviewed after two and a half years.

“Many farmers are refusing to apply for the programme because of the overly complex nature of the process.  They’re particularly concerned about the inflexibility of the 6 year clawback, which has a range of restrictions attached to it.

“This scheme as currently designed is not supported by Mayo suckler farmers-who are essential to the national suckler herd.  There are too many limits and constraints, which are alienating many of them.  The Minister points to a high take up to defend his position-however it is clear from many of those who attended the meeting, that they may have applied to enter the scheme but unless it is changed they will not participate.

“The Minister needs to take on board the concerns that farmers and agri-organisations have raised and adjust the scheme, reassure farmers and ensure that the programme is fit for purpose”.