The Beef Plan Movement(BPM) has conducted a survey on suckler farmers to gauge the level of interest in a proposed suckler reduction scheme, as per this news article.
The farm group carried out the survey through its social media platforms and involved 786 farmer respondents.
A spokesperson told That’s Farming:
“While the BPM is diametrically opposed to a suckler reduction scheme, we felt it was important to ask suckler farmers what they want.”
“The BPM has no issue with the introduction of a retirement scheme for farmers.”
“We have a problem with any flawed agenda which promotes a reduction in the number of suckler animals, with claims such a move will enhance the environment.”
The survey asked farmers seven questions, and the organisation provided the following results to this publication.
1) Do you agree with the statement that suckler and beef farmers are not for sale at €3000/cow or any other price?
- 66.7% – Yes
- 10.5%- No
- 12.8%- Do not know
2) Would you be interested in reducing your suckler herd size to avail of the €3000/cow payment as part of the proposed suckler reduction scheme?
- 27% – Yes
- 63% – No
- 10% – Not sure
3) If yes, would the €3000/cow payment need to be a tax-free payment?
- 93.5%- Yes
- 6.5%- No
4) If you do wish to join a suckler reduction scheme, how much would you reduce your herd size?
(Herd reduction): Respondents
- (100%) – 15.6%
- (50-99%) – 10.6%
- (1-49%) – 73.8%
5). Would you favour an expiry date for exodus if you availed of the scheme? Eg. After 5 years, farmers could resume suckler production without penalty or earlier if the science of this measure is proven to be flawed.
- 77% – Yes
- 8.3% – No
- 14.7% – Not Sure
6) Would you be more in favour of a grant to keep suckler farming viable, approximately €350 – €400/cow?
- 88.4% – Yes
- 11.6% – No
7). Do you believe a large-scale reduction in the Irish suckler herd will help to noticeably reduce the impacts of climate change?
- Yes, a major impact – 1.7%
- A minor but noticeable impact – 8%
- No impact on climate change – 86.6%
- Do not know – 3.7%
The spokesperson added: “In conclusion, over two-thirds of suckler farmers are committed to maintaining their current herd size.”
“The other one-third are either undecided or are considering the financial benefits of such a scheme.”
“Virtually all the farmers interested in a reduction scheme would expect the payment to be tax-free to make it viable.”
“It is encouraging to see that over 88% of the farmers surveyed would prefer an annual suckler payment of around €400 (to a once-off reduction scheme payment) to keep them farming.”
Also, close to 74% of farmers who would take up a suckler reduction scheme would like to have the option of returning to suckling after a set time period.
Furthermore, the group stated that it is also interesting to note that almost 87% of farmers believe a large-scale cull of the suckler herd will have no impact on climate change.
“This is significant, considering the whole point of a cull of the suckler herd is to mitigate against the impact of climate change,” the spokesperson concluded.