Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Beef Data and Genomics Programme
766. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers still waiting for their 2019 beef data genomics scheme payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11441/20]
The Beef Data and Genomics Programme provides for six years of payments to farmers for completion of actions which deliver accelerated genetic improvement in the Irish national herd and improvement of its environmental sustainability.
€41.42m has been paid to date in respect of 22,951 participants for the 2019 scheme year. Payments for some 1,035 participants have yet to issue as they have not met the requirements under the programme.
Payments will continue to be made for 2019 as further participants become compliant with the programme requirements.
767. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount deducted from farmers through penalties under the beef data genomics scheme in each of the years 2017, 2018 and 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11454/20]
The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) forms part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. It provides funding of €300 million over the six year programme and addresses widely acknowledged weaknesses in the maternal genetics of the Irish suckler herd, makes a positive contribution to farmer profitability and reduces the greenhouse gas intensity of Ireland’s beef production.
There are currently some 24,000 participants in BDGP and it provides for annual payments to participating farmers for completion of defined actions as set out in the Terms and Conditions of the scheme. Where these actions are not completed, penalties will be applied.
Some of these actions attract an increased penalty rate in certain years. In 2018, a major requirement under BDGP was for the number of replacement heifers rated at 4 or 5 stars to be a minimum of 20% of the herd's reference figure. For 2019, the requirement was for participating farms to have either a 4 or 5 star stock bull or use 80% 4 or 5 star AI on the holding. In both instances, my Department either directly or in conjunction with ICBF, identified and engaged with farmers falling short of these requirements to assist them in achieving compliance with the scheme. In both years, I arranged for flexibility in my Department's approach to these requirements to assist farmers in meeting their obligations, a flexibility that is similarly being applied this year where the replacement 4/5 star replacement Heifer requirement is 50% of the reference figure. All BDGP participants who were identified as having difficulty in meeting this requirement were written to this year to advise them of what options were available to them to avoid a penalty.
The total amounts deducted from BDGP payments as a result of penalties recorded in 2017, 2018 and 2019 are detailed as follows.