23 APRIL 2020
ICSA suckler chair Ger O’Brien has called on the Department of Agriculture to extend the deadline for compliance with the BDGP programme until 31 March 2021, due to Covid-19. “With the closing of marts and the lack of special sales taking place it is proving difficult for farmers to buy in the necessary stock and this must be taken into consideration,” he said.
“Many ICSA members have been receiving letters indicating whether they are currently on course to comply with or fall short of the targets laid out in the scheme. Our concern is with the inability of those who fall short of the targets at present to rectify their position in the current timeframe, given that we are in the midst of a global pandemic.”
“It must also be borne in mind that some farmers will be reluctant to buy in additional animals as they are simultaneously trying to reduce their stocking rate by 5% to comply with the BEAM scheme.”
“In addition, ICSA believes the rule that precludes calves born this year, who are genotyped either 4 or 5 star, from being included in the scheme should be waived. This could give farmers an opportunity to retain the necessary animals within their herd and avoid penalties.”
Concluding Mr O’Brien said, “We are on the final leg of this ambitious scheme and we must give farmers every opportunity to see the programme through to the end. There can be no justification for penalising farmers, who have committed themselves to the scheme over a five year period, for circumstances beyond their control.”