In this article, Hugh Farrell, ICSA animal health and welfare chair, explains why the DAFM should remove TB compensation caps.
The Department of Agriculture is playing around with farmers’ money by failing to remove caps on TB compensation.
The caps are no longer working; they are outdated, and the department must take action to ensure farmers are not seriously short-changed when it comes to TB compensation.
The On-Farm Market Valuation Scheme (OFMV) is there to ensure that farmers receive compensation in line with the market value – what an animal is likely to make on the open market – at the time of valuation.
TB Compensation Caps
However, a cap of €3,000 applies in respect of any individual bovine animal, and herein lies the issue.
This prevents farmers with cattle valued in excess of €3,000 from getting the compensation they deserve.
It is now common to see cattle selling for above €3,000 in marts on a regular basis.
It is clear that the DAFM must remove these caps to fairly compensate farmers.
The DAFM cannot ignore the fact that cattle, and pedigree cattle, in particular, have become more valuable.
Farmers who are not compensated to the true value of their animals are being wiped out.
Not only that, but valuable pedigree bloodlines are being wiped out as these farmers are not being facilitated through the OFMV to replace like with like.
The only exceptions to the €3,000 cap are stock bulls or pedigree stock bulls – maximum one per breakdown – which can be compensated up to €4,000 and €5,000, respectively.
Furthermore, the TB Forum must start focusing on the financial aspects of the eradication scheme.
Week in, week out, the DAFM is placing additional disease prevention measures on farmers. At the same time, they continue to drag their heels on negotiations around additional financial supports for farmers.
This must stop, and the DAFM must square up to the reality that farmers cannot do more unless they move on increasing compensation levels which must start with removing these outdated caps.
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