The new €35M Suckler Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme announced by the Minister for Agriculture has been welcomed by the President of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) Colm O’Donnell.
“The announcement of the new suckler focused scheme,” stated O’Donnell, “finally shows a change in direction by the Minister away from cumbersome complicated interventions towards more simplified practical measures. This will no doubt see a better uptake by smaller extensive suckler farmers”.
The farm leader went on to say. “This new scheme includes a number of key points from the INHFA 10 point plan for sucklers launched in July 2019.
As part of the plan we proposed under the Beef cow/calf Health plan, the following measures which has now been adopted by the Minister in this new scheme:
• A higher level of payment or front loading on the first 10 cows to attract traditional smaller producers.
• Meal feeding of Calves pre and post weaning.
• Vaccination option on susceptible farms to cover pneumonia.
• Faecal egg testing of the suckler cow for liver and rumen fluke.
O’Donnell stated “that the position taken by the INHFA within the newly established Beef Market Taskforce to highlight the requirement for additional direct support for the Suckler cow as a priority, has been broadly supported within that forum. The configuration of the new scheme has reflected a need for a change”.
The focus going forward which are core objectives of the next CAP should be building a resilient suckler sector capable of:
• meeting the increased societal demands on public health.
• animal health/welfare.
• reduction of antibiotic usage.
Concluding, the President reiterated “this new scheme forms a solid foundation to build on into the future and I would advise all suckler farmers to consider participating in order to ensure the full €35M allocation is drawn down, particularly those who previously haven’t applied for older interventions in the past”.