Farmers demand genomic overhaul
Pressure is mounting on the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to agree major changes to the Beef Data Geonomics Programme (BDGP).
The current scheme proposals have met with widespread opposition from farmers at public meetings held over the last 10 days.
The IFA upped the pressure on Minister Coveney yesterday with its president, Eddie Downey, seeking an urgent meeting with the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture to address farmer concerns.
Opposition to the €52m programme centre on the requirement that farmers sign up for the full six-year timeframe of the initiative, as well as the possible clawback of payments to those who leave the programme or do not comply with guidelines.
"The IFA has also raised issues on the 2014 reference year, the replacement requirement, the level of genotyping, stocking rate and penalties. We are requesting the Oireachtas Committee to arrange a meeting this week to discuss these issues," Mr Downey said.
He pointed out that thousands of farmers had attended meetings across the country in the last week with Oireachtas members, and it was very clear there was a lot of unrest and confusion on many aspects of the scheme.
However, Mr Downey accepted that the BDGP was an important initiative that would help suckler farmers remain viable.
More than 700 farmers expressed "disappointment" with the scheme at an IFA meeting in Co Galway and a turnout in excess of 500 farmers in Co Roscommon also gave the programme the thumbs down.