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Minister Coughlan announces support to the 2008 Gene Ireland Progeny Testing Programme

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, today announced funding of €1.35 million towards the 2008 Gene Ireland bull progeny testing programme operated by ICBF and AI companies. This support will cover 70% of the total costs of the four-year programme, beginning in 2008 and continuing to 2011. The target for the programme is to progeny test 100 dairy and 40 beef bulls from across the range of breeds.

The Minister said that she was delighted to be in a position to provide this level of funding to the Gene Ireland programme. The programme involves the Irish cattle breeding industry working together to achieve an optimal breeding scheme for the dairy and beef breeds in Ireland. It is designed to ensure the best genetics are available to Irish dairy and beef farmers in the coming years. The cornerstone for Ireland in retaining a competitive export based dairy and beef industry is the supply of Irish tested superior genetics to the beef and dairy farmer.

The Minister added: "Farmers expect and deserve the best quality bulls to be available to them at a reasonable cost. The provision of initial funding to prime the establishment of the Gene Ireland programme - €1.35m in 2008, following on from €0.5m I provided to the 2007 programme - shows my commitment to the livestock breeding sector."

Minister Coughlan commended ICBF, AI companies, Cattle Breed Societies and farmers for working together in a collaborative effort for the long term good of Irish livestock farmers. She wished the endeavour well and encouraged farmers to join in the testing programme which has considerable financial and other rewards for participants.

12 February, 2008

Date Released: 12 February 2008