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ICBF and Sheep Ireland escape cuts

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) and Sheep Ireland have escaped any Department of Agriculture spending cutbacks for 2011, it has been confirmed.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney announced on Friday that grant aid of €930,000 would be paid to the two organisations to support cattle and sheep breeding improvements.

ICBF will receive €730,000 for beef and dairy cattle breeding, while Sheep Ireland will receive €200,000. The funding is additional to the €1.5m support to ICBF and Sheep Ireland in 2011 under the National Development Plan.

Minister Coveney said that despite budgetary pressures, the Government remained committed to the agrifood sector and to supporting future growth in the livestock sector.

"The ICBF, which is now recognised as a world leader in cattle breeding, has consistently improved the quality of genetic evaluations of dairy and beef cattle and helped drive profitability of these export led industries," Mr Coveney said.

"Science-based breed improvement is a critical factor in achieving ambitious targets outlined in Food Harvest 2020 for the livestock sector."

In the two years since Sheep Ireland was set up, it has developed a central database and data collection systems, as well as breeding programmes to identify the best terminal and maternal sheep breeds.

Meanwhile, IFA livestock chairman Michael Doran was voted in as vice-chairman of the ICBF on Thursday. The IFA man beat off competition from John Comer, deputy president of the ICMSA, for the position.

Caitriona Murphy

Indo Farming