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Aug 3, 2023 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments


ICSA Suckler chair Jimmy Cosgrave has said the new suckler scheme (National Beef Welfare Scheme) demonstrates that ICSA was 100% correct when it campaigned for a coupled suckler payment in the CAP Strategic Plan. “The reality is that no other farm organisation supported us when we said a coupled payment was the only way to deliver real support to suckler farm incomes and now the chickens are coming home to roost. This is going to have to come back on to the agenda.”

He said, “The suckler scheme is sorely lacking in ambition and does not inspire confidence that the government really wants to keep current suckler numbers in place. The scheme does have some positive elements but overall, it will not deliver in terms of farm income on suckler farms.” 

“ICSA welcomes the meal feeding measure and we lobbied for that. Most suckler farmers who sell weanlings feed meal to them so that they are in good order at sales. However, the rate of €35/head does not reflect the 2023 cost of meal and the work involved. The maximum number of 40 head is a completely needless limit that is unfair to commercial suckler farmers who are trying to stay in it for the long-term. It is incredible that other farm organisations have been up in arms about a 120 dairy cow limit for milking machine grants yet the Minister thinks someone with more than 40 sucklers is too big to be supported properly.”

“The IBR measure could be helpful in improving the health status of some herds and providing the basis for targeted programmes. Ultimately, IBR is potentially an issue for live exports. However, the rate of €15/head to a maximum €300 is money for vets. Again, there is no regard for the farmer’s time and effort.” 

“The unfortunate thing is the public is being led to believe that this scheme is delivering €28 million to suckler farmers when it isn’t in reality. A significant chunk is going to support vets, labs and even the meal compounders, who will have less customers if suckler farmers go out of business.”

Mr Cosgrave said that he was also concerned about the lack of certainty regarding a scheme for 2024 and subsequent years. “Farmers are in the dark about the long-term plans for the sector and this is having a serious impact, not only on planning for the future, but on mental health.”


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