BVD budget fund boost as tag sales hit 13,000 in first week
THE BVD eradication scheme is set to receive a boost in December's Budget, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.
Speaking at the ICMSA AGM in Limerick on Saturday, the minister revealed that money has been set aside to cover the cost of removing BVD persistently infected (PI) animals from the national cattle herd.
However, Mr Coveney cautioned farmers that the fund for PI removals would be in the order of "hundreds of thousands, not millions".
The announcement comes as a welcome boost to Animal Health Ireland's BVD scheme, which has been teetering on the brink following the announcement by the ICMSA and the vets that they would not stand over a scheme that allowed farmers to sell on PI animals.
"It is my strong preference that we don't see PI animals sold and potentially bred, passing on BVD," Mr Coveney told the conference.
"I have put in the budget a small amount of money to support farmers with the cost of removing those animals from the system," he told the ICMSA members at the AGM.
"It is my view that we could, within three to four years, entirely eradicate BVD from this country, which would be a phenomenal achievement."
More than 13,000 BVD tags have been ordered in the first week on the market, despite Animal Health Ireland (AHI), the group responsible for rolling out the disease eradication programme, heading into another crunch meeting on the plan today.