ICMSA say department’s ‘mixed messages’ hindering Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme

ICMSA Livestock Chairperson Des Morrison.

The Chairperson of ICMSA’s Livestock Committee, Des Morrison, has said that the Department’s ‘mixed messages’ on the renamed National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme is undermining and hindering the development of what Mr Morrison said could be a simple ‘Win/Win’ in terms of both farmer income and emissions abatement.

Referring to the Department’s decision to increase the number of calves that can be included in an individual’s farmer’s application from 40 to 50 but to keep the headage payment at just €20.

Mr Morrison said that the Department’s half-hearted commitment was ensuring that the scheme – recently demonstrated to be by far the best emissions abatement scheme by cost/benefit – could never develop the momentum to become the positive option that it could and should be.

“We just can’t see why – having taken our design and suggestions on board and seen the recent figures around cost and abatement – that the Department can’t commit and get behind this obvious and completely straightforward solution to several problems?

“Why would you increase the number of calves that can be included but leave the payment per head at a frankly derisory €20 up to the new maximum of €1000 per participating farmer? It’s just baffling and a little alarming, considering how much this could move us forward in several areas for so little outlay,” said Mr Morrison.

Noting that the closing date for applications is now May 2nd, extended from April 25th, Mr Morrison said the later date was welcome and would allow more consideration. But he emphasised again that a much more realistic and wholehearted commitment was required on the Department’s part if this self-evidently efficient and multi-purpose scheme was to go anywhere near its potential.