Connaughton welcomes new Suckler Cow Scheme

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East Galway T.D. Paul Connaughton has welcomed the announcement of extra funding for the Suckler Cow Scheme in this week’s Budget.

‘Budget 2014 is directed towards supporting small farm holdings in disadvantaged areas and also investing in the future of the national suckler cow herd.  The announcement of €23 million extra funding for the suckler cow scheme is particularly welcome given the difficult decisions that had to be made as part of this budget.

‘It is a signal of this Government’s belief in the importance of the beef sector and is also a wise move in that investment in the Beef Genomics Scheme will have long-lasting effects for the Irish beef industry.

‘Under the new scheme suckler farmers will get a payment of €40 per calf and will have to take samples from stock bulls and suckler cows for genotyping.  This programme will drive efficiency and increase farm profitability and with the Beef Data Programme, will provide payments totalling up to €60 per calf in the suckler herd.

‘In the run-up to Budget 2014 I was in constant contact with Minister Coveney, stressing the importance of investment in the suckler herd at a time of decreasing stock numbers and I will continue to impress upon the Minister the need to support the suckler herd, which is the cornerstone of the beef industry, an industry that involves over 100,000 farm families across the country.

‘Retaining the current level of payments in the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme is another very important factor for farmers in East Galway, as is the increase of €15 million in the Grassland Sheep Scheme.  Budget 2014 involved many very tough decisions as this Government aims to steer a steady course for the country, but I believe that the Government recognises the important place that farming plays in the economy and the potential that it has to reap even greater economic rewards in years to come.’