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Minister announces extension of Genotyping incentives

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., has confirmed that the financial incentives introduced earlier in the year to encourage greater participation in the National Genotyping Programme (NGP) are being extended for a further two months.

The effect of this announcement is that the contribution of €12 towards the laboratory testing costs (for both males and females genotyped) and the compensation payable to those farmers whose rams are identified as being in the categories that are most susceptible to scrapie and are destroyed, will continue to be paid in respect of such sheep provided they are tested by 31 October 2006 and where the rams are destroyed by 30 November 2006. (The rates of compensation being paid this year are attached). The total amount of compensation that can be paid to any one claimant in 2006 will be capped at €1,200.

Minister Coughlan said that the extension was being made to facilitate those farmers who may still wish to have their sheep genotyped. She said she hoped that the financial incentives would encourage greater participation in the Programme which has seen in excess of 56,000 genotyped since May 2004.

Minister Coughlan said that her Department was anxious to maintain the progress made in reducing the incidence of scrapie, with a view to its eradication. The Minister described the NGP as a key component in increasing the level of resistance to scrapie in the Irish sheep flock through the promotion of the use of the most scrapie-resistant animals for breeding. She described as compelling the case for the eradication of the disease in the interests of animal health and welfare, improved productivity, consumer confidence and trade protection, not least given the competitive nature of the sheep sector.

The Minister expressed the wish that this year's financial incentives would have a similar effect to that introduced last year which saw a marked increase in participation levels in the NGP.

18 September, 2006

The following are the 2006 rates of compensation
Pedigree Non-pedigree
Ram Lamb €350 -
Hogget Ram €500 €350
Older Ram €200 €150

Rams attracting the pedigree rate must be identified by indicating their pedigree identifier on the initial NGP application form. Otherwise, animals found carrying the VRQ allele will attract the non-pedigree rate.

Date Released: 18 September 2006