Wednesday, 13 February 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Beef Data and Genomics Programme
157. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will lay before the Houses of the Oireachtas a paper on the application of genomics in the beef data and genomics programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7280/19]
158. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an organisation (details supplied) is using the base year 2014 for improvements associated with the beef data and genomics programme; his views on whether it is appropriate to use it as the base year in view of the fact that the data for that year was skewed as a result of the fodder crisis in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7281/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 157 and 158 together.
The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is currently the main support specifically targeted for the suckler sector, which provides Irish beef farmers with some €300 million in funding over the current Rural Development Programme (RDP) period. This scheme is an agri-environmental measure to improve the environmental sustainability of the national suckler herd by increasing genetic merit within the herd.
I recently launched the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP), a €20 million pilot scheme specifically aimed at further improving the carbon efficiency of beef production from the suckler herd, by measuring the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves.
The base year of 2014 was chosen for the BDGP as it coincides with the beginning of the programme. The potential impact of externalities, including the fodder issue stated, is factored into analysis of the data for decision making.
An evaluation of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme is currently on-going and the report will be published in due course.
My Department is pursuing a policy of ensuring that supports to the beef sector explicitly support and encourage suckler farmers to make the best decisions possible to improve both the economic and environmental efficiency of their farming system.