IFA welcome new suckler deal

Up to 4,128 farmers in County Roscommon will benefit by up to €17m under the new Suckler Cow Herd Scheme. The new scheme was given the green light in Brussels in recent days and the Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan announced details of the scheme. Thanking the EU Commission for approving the scheme, Minister Coughlan said, "This is an important initiative aimed at improving welfare and quality in the national suckler herd.  Participation in the scheme is voluntary and will be open to all suckler farmers, including those with mixed enterprise herds containing both suckler and dairy animals." Welcoming the €80 per cow scheme, IFA County Chairman Bernard Donohue said the Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan TD had delivered on her commitment to support the suckler cow herd and quality beef production in Ireland. He described the €80 per cow scheme as a major boost to the sector and particularly suckler producers, which form the core base of our quality beef and livestock sector. He said there are up to 65,000 suckler farmers with over 1.1 million suckler cows in Ireland, all of which will be eligible for the new scheme. Mr. Donohue said when IFA first proposed the new suckler herd scheme in January 2006, Minister Coughlan responded very positively. He said the scheme involves a major investment of €250m in upgrading the National Beef Herd and is worth €80 per suckler cow per year for the next five years. He welcomed this major IFA delivery for livestock farmers and complimented the hard work of the IFA President Padraig Walshe and National Livestock Chairman John Bryan in securing this investment package for the livestock sector. The IFA Chairman said a 30-cow suckler farmer in Co. Roscommon will receive a payment of €2,400 in 2008 under this scheme, and a total of €12,000 over the next five years. Mr. Donohue said ‘farmers who join the Scheme will receive the €80 per cow payment for undertaking six measures covering animal events recording, disbudding of calves, castration of calves, minimum calving age and weaning best practice, and training and education.’ He said the Scheme is voluntary and open to all farmers with sucklers. The IFA Chairman said application forms for the new Scheme will be available within a few weeks and applications must be made between January 1st and March 31st, 2008. Encouraging all suckler farmers in Co. Roscommon to apply for the scheme, Mr. Donohue said early application is important as it will allow for early payment. In addition, suckler farmers who apply in early January will be guaranteed €80 per cow each year for the next five years.