Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Éamon Ó Cuív TD has today welcomed Minister Simon Coveney’s decision to extend the deadline for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme but says the move further proves the fact that the scheme is not fit for purpose.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “I very much welcome the decision by the Minister to extend the deadline for the Suckler Cow Genomic Scheme to the 5th June, and would call on all farmers to submit their application form by the new date. The suckler herd is the basis of our quality beef industry, underpinning our premium beef offering on domestic and export markets.
“The extremely low take up and the Minister’s last minute decision is further proof that the current scheme is not working. Many farmers have expressed deep concerns about the complexity of some aspects of the scheme. This is backed up by figures that reveal that less than half of the targeted 35,000 suckler farmers have thus far applied to this genomics scheme.
“Even though the scheme is most unsatisfactory in its current form, I will continue to work with all like-minded farming interests to try to ensure a fair and equitable scheme is. However, it is important that farmers take the first step by submitting application forms by the new deadline”, added Deputy Ó Cuív.
“Any farmer who does not submit an application form will not be able to join the scheme, even if the Minister agrees to change its terms and conditions. This is a most unsatisfactory situation.
“If the Minister refuses to change the terms of the scheme, farmers will be able to opt out without being penalised; however farmers will be unable to sign up at a later date, even if changes are made. In the meantime, I’m calling on the Minister to listen to the concerns of farmers and agri-organisations who want to see a radical revision of the scheme, particularly in relation to the six year rule, star ratings and the overly bureaucratic nature of the scheme”.