In this article, ICSA animal health and welfare chair, Hugh Farrell, comments on renewed TB compensation scheme and funding arrangements for farmers in Ireland, as reported by That’s Farming.
While we have gained important concessions as part of the TB Compensation Agreement, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine still has questions to answer around the financial support for pre and post-movement testing.
I am taken aback by the statement issued by the DAFM in the aftermath of yesterday’s agreement that referred to such supports as “a transitional measure” and “a once-off contribution”.
It is our understanding that the €70 contribution provided to breeding herds who need to carry out additional testing as part of the new pre and post-testing requirements would be reviewed at the end of the year.
The statement from the DAFM makes no mention of this. In case there is any doubt, ICSA did not agree to this being a once-off payment – we accepted a review in twelve months’ time.
However, there were significant positives to the agreement that were hard-won.
ICSA fought very hard to ensure pedigree cattle were compensated properly in the event of a TB breakdown.
From now on, the maximum payment for pedigree cows and in-calf heifers will increase from €3,000 to €5,000 with no upper limit of the number of animals from one herd that can qualify for this increased amount.
We also succeeded in securing compensation of up to €5,000 for up to three pedigree bulls per herd.
Before this agreement, the maximum number of pedigree bulls that could obtain up to the maximum compensation was just one.
In addition, the burden on the farmer to provide the pedigree cert has been removed.
Hardship and supplement schemes
ICSA also fought hard to secure increases to the Hardship Grant and Income Supplement schemes.
The increases we achieved under the Hardship Grant will be of particular benefit to beef and suckler farmers as the grant will now be payable to part-time as well as full-time farmers.
It is also worth noting that restricted herds will be able to buy in stock and still remain entitled to full market valuation.
This is hugely important and something that ICSA argued tirelessly for as it allows the farmers we represent – in the lower-income beef and suckler sectors – to at least preserve some kind of economic stability over the course of a TB breakdown.
This is important for cattle and suckler farmers because it will allow them back into business quicker in many instances.
At the outset, the Department wanted to put herd categorisation up on mart boards, and we have ensured that this did not get off the ground.
Farmers should take the time to get up to speed with the new TB testing requirements and compensation levels.
These negotiations have been difficult and protracted. The outcome will hopefully assist in achieving the ultimate goal of eradicating TB, but this remains to be seen.
ICSA will continue to work hard on farmers’ behalf to ensure the process of managing a TB Breakdown does not mean facing financial ruin