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Changes Needed In Rules For New Suckler Scheme

In the Dail this week on the floor of the house I once again appealed to Minister Simon Coveney to amend the terms and conditions under which the new suckler scheme will operate. I was glad to get the opportunity to raise this very important matter once again as it is an issue that is a huge worry to many farmers throughout the country. I again raised the fears of farmers under a number of headings including the five star rating of bulls, the additional work that will be required with regard to carbon and grazing, and especially the six year contract that will be the requirement. There is also widespread concern among farmers that if something goes wrong in four or five years they will have to pay the money that they have got back in full over the term of the scheme. It is my view that every year should be treated separately and to do otherwise is deeply unfair. The cost of Geo typing of animals under the scheme is also a concern despite the Minister stating to me that those costs will come down as the scheme goes on. In addition it does not made sense that farmers who are 40 and 50 years involved in this industry are being asked to go on courses when they have a lifetime of knowledge behind them. I pointed out to the Minister that many farmers are fearful of going into this scheme as a result of the terms and conditions as they are laid out at the moment. I will be pursuing this matter with Minister Coveney and the Department as a matter of urgency to get some of these term and conditions changed to allay the fears of farmers.