Department is 'flexible' on beef genomics scheme terms
Officials move to allay fears over retirement and farm transfer conditions
Close on 1,000 farmers have successfully appealed on the 2014 base date for the beef data genomics programme (BDGP), a heated information meeting on the scheme was told last week.
Department of Agriculture official Gordon Conroy told more than 300 people gathered at Elphin Mart in Co Roscommon that the Department does not want suckler farmers to face penalties on the timeframe set out for the scheme.
He said that flexibility would be shown in relation to force majeure, land sales, cases of a farmer retiring or transferring the farm over to the next generation.
Mr Conroy stated those taking over farms would not have to remain invovled for the remainder of the term to avoid clawback.
Over 29,000 herds had applied to join by the closing date.
A small percentage have since withdrawn, while 950 out of 1,000 appeals dealing with setting 2014 as the base year for calculating payments based on stock numbers have been successful.
Much of the anger and concern shown by farmers who attended the meeting was focused on a lack of consultation, fears over clawback of payments on the six-year rule, the eligibility of three star cows and the 60pc annual genomic test requirments.
A number of farmers also expressed annoyance that Department personnel are only now attending and organising information meetings despite the scheme being announced over five months ago.