Twenty farmers a week dropping out of BDGP scheme

Martin Ryan

Unclaimed funding for the Beef Data Genomics Programme has increased to close to €9m a year and almost one in every four of the original applicants are no longer "active" participants in the scheme.

An average of 21 participants per week dropped out of the scheme during the first four months of 2019.

Payment for 2018 has been withheld from 1,053 participants who "have yet to achieve a sufficient level of compliance with the scheme to generate a payment but can qualify for payment once they comply with scheme requirements" stated the Department.

Total payments for 2018 came to €42.8m. The original allocation for the scheme was set at €52m per annum when it was launched in 2015. Records show that €44.5m was paid out to participants for 2017.

Of the original 29,898 applicants under BDGP 1 and the additional 1,856 applicants for the later entry, 24,536 remain active within the scheme, representing a drop out of 23pc. The 24,536 includes the 1,053 participants who have yet to meet the requirements for their 2018 payment and face possible elimination if they fail to comply.

The 7,258 former participants in the scheme is a combination of those who withdrew from the scheme and applicants who were eliminated for failing to meet the criteria.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture confirmed that 322 participants had withdrawn from the scheme during the first four months of 2019, an average of 21 per week dropping out.

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