Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (599)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

599. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the total number of farmers in the beef technology scheme in County Galway yet to be paid; if his attention has been drawn to an issue in relation to data inputting which appears to be causing a problem and which is putting farmers under severe pressure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10240/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under Food Harvest 2020, ambitious development targets were set for a number of agricultural sectors, including the beef sector. In this context, €5m of Exchequer funding was made available in 2012 for the establishment of a Beef Technology Adoption Programme (BTAP) to encourage the adoption of best management practice on beef farms.

In order to qualify for the 2012 Beef Technology Adoption Programme, applicants were required to have satisfied one of the following criteria:

- Farmers with suckler cows must be current participants in the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme (AWRBS), that is, they must have received payments under the Scheme on 2010 born calves and have applied to participate in ICBF HerdPlus prior to applying for the Programme.

- Beef farmers without a suckler herd must have applied to participate in ICBF HerdPlus prior to applying for the Programme. Any farmer finishing animals to slaughter must have applied for membership of the Beef Quality Assurance Scheme (BQAS) before the application date for this Programme and must be a member of the scheme by 31 October 2012. He/she must also have finished a minimum of 15 cattle to slaughter in 2011.

Nationally, 5,685 applicants satisfied the entry requirements, 731 of which were from County Galway. In addition to the entry criteria, however, applicants were also required to attend a minimum of five Discussion group meetings/approved National Events and successfully complete two Tasks, selected from a menu of eight Tasks. Of the 731 Galway Programme participants, 164 are currently not paid. All unpaid cases are being reviewed and, where eligibility is confirmed, payment will issue; those confirmed as unsuccessful will be advised accordingly, in writing. In common with all Schemes/Programmes operated by my Department, those who are found to be unsuccessful will be afforded the right of appeal.