Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Beef Data and Genomics Programme: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
I thank the witnesses for that good report. After the early difficulties we all envisaged when the scheme was first announced, more information is now coming out and farmers are beginning to feel happier with it. The officials say about 23,000 farmers are now nearly ready for payments. Do they expect that most of them will be paid before Christmas at this stage?
The monitoring group review is still in place. There was talk and the Minister said he might reduce the four and five star requirement down to three or four stars. Maybe that is not necessary at this stage, but some people out there are asking the question.
That a number of farmers have withdrawn from the scheme leaves the officials with two options: to include more young farmers as we go forward, as Deputy Heydon has said, or to increase the payment for the farmers who are already there. Maybe the drop-out rate is not high enough to increase the payment significantly. It would be very important to allow young farmers to get into the scheme as we move forward in 2016 and 2017.