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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Poll: Should farms have to be Bord Bia quality assured to qualify for new suckler scheme?

Under the new Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP), farmers must (mandatory requirement) become a member of Bord Bia’s SBLAS (Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme) by October 16th, 2023 and maintain membership throughout their SCEP contract term (full duration of the five-year programme), as previously reported by That’s Farming.

A failure to become a full member of the SBLAS by October 16th, 2023 and/or a failure to maintain membership throughout the scheme’s contract term will result in removal from the programme, and a full clawback of any SCEP monies/payments received, the DAFM has stated in the scheme’s terms and conditions, which have become available in recent days.

In a previous statement, a spokesperson for the DAFM outlined that Bord Bia SBLAS membership is required as the carbon footprint in the sustainability audit will be used to measure changes over the course of the contract.

In a previous article on That’s Farming, Catherina Cunnane, interviewed a spokesperson for Bord Bia, who outlined that the majority of non-compliances found during the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) audit relate to record-keeping and, in particular, recording of animal remedies (usage and purchase) – you can read this news article via this link.

Why is SBLAS membership a requirement for the SCEP?

Previously, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, was questioned on the requirement in the new €260 million 5-year suckler scheme.

He outlined, as reported by us in this news article, that the management and operation of the Sustainable Beef And Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS), of which there are approximately 53,000 members. is an “operational” matter for Bord Bia.

A core element of the SBLAS is a sustainability audit which features a carbon footprint measurement.

The primary objective of the carbon footprint measurement is to enable the quantification of all environmentally sustainable activities Irish farmers carry out, he added.

He continued: “The SBLAS sustainability audit, including the carbon footprint measurement, is developed on an internationally verified quality assurance model.”

“There is no direct cost to the farmer for participation in the SBLAS, as my department funds the costs of the audits.”

“As the deputy may be aware, the carbon footprint measurement is both an eligibility requirement and an integral element of the proposed Suckler Carbon Efficiency Scheme under the new CAP.”

“In designing the scheme, in consultation with farming stakeholders, the department gave detailed consideration to all aspects of the scheme design, including potential mechanisms for delivery of the carbon footprinting requirement.”

“I am satisfied that the chosen scheme design is the most appropriate,” he concluded.

Poll – share your views

In this poll, That’s Farming asks our readers to air their views on the requirement:

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