The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association has described as un-acceptable the suggestion that participation in one Rural Development Scheme could be dependent on participation in another. This follows news that participation in the Knowledge Transfer Program for Beef Farmers (Beef Discussion Groups) is dependent on farmers already participating in the Beef Data & Genomics Program (BDGP).
INHFA policy spokesperson Colm O’Donnell stated that “This news will come as a bombshell to the many farmers that didn’t apply for the BDGP due to genuine concern regarding unrealistic targets and excessive penalties.”
The INHFA understand that many of the farmers that didn’t apply for the BDGP were those with 10 or less cows. To now not give them the option of participating in the Knowledge Transfer Groups will leave them (and others that didn’t apply) at a major disadvantage.
Mr O’Donnell added that “Each scheme should stand on its own merits and it is not acceptable that farmers when applying to one scheme are expected to check the terms and conditions of other schemes to see how it could affect them and what barriers to entry it may create.”
Mr O Donnell concluded by “demanding the Minister immediately removes this condition to entry for the Knowledge Transfer Groups and give all farmers that want to participate the option to apply which helps to ensure equality for all as required under EU regulations.”