Wednesday, 23 September 2015
Beef Data Programme
I thank the Minister of State for his response. Sadly, however, I disagree with most of what has been given to him to provide in his reply. I would like to bring some of the people from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, ICBF, to a few marts, and perhaps Senator Comiskey could come along with us, because what was said is not what is being borne out on the ground.
The other thing that phases us in the north west is the risk of land abandonment. We need to keep these producers at work, so supports are required. The IFA is a great organisation and probably the best when it comes to lobbying. There are many IFA members in our part of the country, but their leadership - including Kevin Kinsella, the director of livestock, and others - have sold out the north west when it comes to the implementation of this scheme. He is admitting as much to people at the ploughing championships this week by saying, "Look, sure we can't change it now and that's it."
I appeal to the Minister of State that, rather than wasting this money, he should talk to small farmers in the north west who sometimes find themselves all too under-represented by the big farming organisations. He could thus see how best we can channel the necessary resources to them to increase their output at the appropriate quality. This scheme is threatening that quality. It is sadly proving to be extremely unworkable for farmers on the ground.