Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, hosted a “constructive” meeting with recently appointed US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, today (Tuesday, April 12th).
Minister McConalogue opened the meeting by congratulating Mr Vilsack on his re-appointment.
In a discussion on Brexit and the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol, Minister McConalogue acknowledged “the support and understanding of President Biden and his administration in relation to peace and stability in Northern Ireland, including through support of the Good Friday Agreement and effective application of the protocol”.
“The meeting was a timely opportunity to engage with our American friends on matters of both mutual and individual concern.”
“Our discussions today included climate change and the need to embrace research and technology and to work in partnership with farmers in meeting the significant challenge ahead.”
“Secretary Vilsack and I acknowledged the opportunity to collaborate on research involving Ireland, Northern Ireland and the USA on finding solutions to these challenges.”
They also discussed trade issues and agreed that Irish and US officials will continue to engage in these matters.
Minister McConalogue referenced Secretary Vilsack’s role when Ireland first achieved beef access to the US market in 2015 and expressed the hope that progress can be made soon in relation to sheepmeat access.
“We held a fruitful conversation today on many issues and Secretary Vilsack. I agreed to co-operate and collaborate on challenges facing agriculture and to work to facilitate trade for everyone’s benefit.” the minister concluded.
BEEP-S and Dairy Beef pilot closing dates
Meanwhile, Minister McConalogue has reminded farmers that the deadline for submission of applications to BEEP–S and Dairy Beef pilot is April 26th, 2021.
He said there has been a “strong” start to the 2021 BEEP–S application process with 12,167 applications received to date.
The scheme targets the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves by measuring the live weight of the calf at weaning as a percentage of the cow’s live weight.
Applicants to the scheme can also select from a number of optional health and welfare measures including:
2) Meal feeding or vaccination of weanlings;
3) And/or faecal egg testing of suckler cows.
The minister also reminded farmers that the new Dairy Beef Calf measure for 2021, which has a budget allocation of €5 million in 2021, will close on the same date.
Its objective is to “increase the economic and environmental efficiency of beef from the dairy herd”.
Secondly, it aims to “facilitate further the integration of the dairy and beef sectors by providing support for farmers who are rearing progeny from the dairy herd”.
The core action is the weighing of eligible calves for which there is a payment of €20 per calf up to a maximum of 20 calves.
The level of interest thus far has been “encouraging” with 1,939 applications received to date.
The Minister concluded by reminding farmers and advisors that, “applications must be done online at agfood.ie before April 26th, 2021 and to ensure their application is actually submitted, rather than having a status as a draft application”.