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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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McConalogue asked about SBLAS requirement in new suckler scheme

Minister Charlie McConalogue has been asked to justify his reason for making Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) membership a mandatory requirement in the new suckler scheme.

Three TDs, Alan Dillon, Brendan Griffin, and Carol Nolan, raised parliamentary questions relating to the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021.

Deputy Carol Nolan specifically asked the minister if he would consider removing this compulsory element for scheme participation.

In response, he confirmed that SBLAS membership is an eligibility condition of the new proposed Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme of Ireland’s draft CAP strategic plan.

This is despite the fact that the DAFM has removed the proposed eligibility requirement for beneficiaries of the Sheep Improvement Scheme to participate in a Bord Bia Sustainable Lamb Assurance Scheme.

“A core metric underpinning this environmental scheme is the measurement and tracking of the carbon footprint for each participant farm.”

“The sustainability survey in the SBLAS audit provides a carbon footprint using an established model.”

“My view is that it is imperative that the scheme includes strong and measurable environmental actions, which will further drive the environmental efficiency of suckler beef farming, as well as contributing to the sector’s efficiency and competitiveness and supporting farm incomes.”

He said the DAFM directly funds SBLAS audits rather than by the participating beef and sheep farmers.

CSP changes

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has made some changes to Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027.

Minister McConalogue said this comes following consultations with stakeholders “over the past few months and most recently, at mart meetings”.

The DAFM said it has “afforded farmers in every sector and region to voice their questions on the plan”.

In this statement, the DAFM explained the CAP Strategic Plan Regulation contains several particular requirements for all EU Member States.

However, it outlined that some elements are “open to decision” at national level.

General changes:

  • The DAFM has updated the active farmer definition.
  • The section on conditionality now “better reflects the final political agreement”.

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