Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has welcomed the announcement of €10m in payments to suckler farmers by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney.
“The Minister today (Wednesday) announced the commencement of payment to almost 26,000 suckler farmers under the 2013 Beef Data Programme. Payments will start this week to farmers taking part in the programme.
“In Longford, just over 660 herds and 14,700 animals will benefit from a total allocation of more than €276,300. In Westmeath, more than 700 herds and more than 12,000 individual animals will benefit from over €236,300 worth of investment.
“This €10 million in funding has been provided from Single Farm Payment Scheme (SPS) unused funds for the Beef Data Programme (BDP). Money will be allocated to animals born during 2013 and 2014.
“The Beef Data Programme helps farmers to improve the genetic quality of livestock, while maintaining a flow of crucial data to Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).
“Beef farming is extremely important in Counties Longford and Westmeath and the beef suckler cow herd is our best asset. I am delighted that this support has been provided as I know that it has been a challenging start to the year for suckler farmers in the area. This announcement is definitely welcome at this time.
“More than 100,000 farm families are involved in suckler farming in Ireland, almost 8,000 people are employed in processing, sales and marketing, and exports are valued at approximately €1.8 billion per annum.
“The Beef Data Programme is supporting suckler farmers in improving the quality of livestock, in harnessing technology to make this type of farming more efficient and ultimately more profitable at farm level.
“Beef farming is a major contributor to the agriculture sector and indeed to the Irish economy. New markets are opening up all the time for this industry and it is very positive to see supports such as the suckler farmer payment in place to make the sector robust and ready for growth.”