Minister should re-open Beef Genomics Scheme to farmers – Smith

– Programme has not reached targeted participation rate –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says the Beef Genomics Scheme should be reopened to farmers.  The programme, which was launched in 2015, has failed to meet its participation targets, with many farmers put off by the amount of red tape involved.

Deputy Smith commented, “Many beef farmers across Cavan and Monaghan are solely dependent on subsidies and direct payments to keep their businesses afloat and the Beef Genomics Data Programme is an essential source of funding for these farm families.  The fact that the scheme is running almost 30% behind target is very worrying and could see farmers lose out on an important funding source.

“The beef sector accounts for a large part of our overall agri-business industry and needs to be protected.  Farmers along the border are already dealing with increased costs, while prices remain volatile and they cannot afford to lose out on essential funding schemes.

“I’m calling on Minister Creed to re-open the scheme so that the original target of 35,000 participants is met.  Recent figures supplied to our Agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue reveal that fewer than 25,000 have registered for the scheme to date – this is well below the Government’s own target and significantly less than the participation rates of the Suckler Cow Scheme.

“We must ensure that farm families are not losing out on important funding programmes.  The Minister should re-open the scheme so that hard pressed farmers can apply for this funding to ease the financial burden on them”.