Participation in the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme should not be linked to Bord Bia membership.
That is the view of ICSA suckler chair, Ger O’Brien, who has slammed the DAFM’s decision to make such membership mandatory to participate in the new suckler scheme.
The farm group believes that SBLAS membership “must remain a choice for individual farmers”.
In a statement on Friday, November 12th, 2021, O’Brien, said:
“Under no circumstances should membership of a domestic scheme, run by a domestic semi-state body, be tied to CAP supports.”
“The majority of suckler farmers are not members of Bord Bia because it is of no benefit to them.”
“The common practice is to sell cull cows and stores in the marts. They do not – for the most part – sell cattle to factories for slaughter. They, therefore, do not avail of any Bord Bia quality assurance bonuses.”
O’Brien said the requirement essentially “creates a sanction” for suckler farmers who do not want to sign up to Bord Bia.
“We really must question the department’s logic around this move. Are they intentionally trying to create as many barriers as possible to prevent suckler farmers benefitting from the scheme?”
He said suckler farmers are already facing reduced payments because of proposed changes to the scheme going forward.
“The scheme has also been made more complex. When added to the requirement to be a member of Bord Bia, it looks very much like the department are trying to discourage suckler farmers so much that they want to quit the business.”
O’Brien praised the minister for removing membership of Bord Bia from the eligibility criteria for participation in the new Sheep Improvement Scheme.
“Membership of Bord Bia should not be mandatory to participate in any scheme.”
“I am urging the minister to remove this clause from the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme immediately,” he concluded.