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Minister Smith provides update on payments under the 2009 Suckler Welfare Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, confirmed that his Department had commenced payments in respect of 2010 born calves under the Suckler Welfare Scheme.  "I am very pleased that, in addition to making payments on 2008 and 2009 born calves I was able to bring forward the payment date for eligible 2010 born calves the Minister said, adding 'these payments are worth over €7.5 million to suckler farmers and will bring the total value of payments made to date in 2010 under this Scheme to over €33 million".

Payments of €40 per cow on a rolling basis in respect of the 2010 born calves will continue into 2011 as additional animals become eligible. The Minister encouraged applicants to continue to complete and return their forms as quickly as possible and for those making their returns on-line to continue do so also. He added: "The sooner farmers complete these important returns the sooner they can receive payment."

Minister Smith said that the quantity of breeding information (a combination of ancestry, bulls used, performance data and weanling quality) now being collected from participating farmers and submitted to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation is starting to make a significant contribution to improvement in the genetic quality of the suckler herd. "The real benefits in beef breeding terms  will, however, be in the longer term and it is vitally important that farmers  keep up the flow of data to the ICBF and also at the same time maintain the high standard of animal welfare" the Minister said.

Concluding, the Minister again confirmed his commitment to maximise payments to the farmers at the earliest possible date under all Schemes. "It remains my firm intention that everything possible will continue to be done to get the maximum level of payments to farmers concerned as soon as possible and I am l delighted to indicate that payments under the Single Payment Scheme, Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and Suckler Welfare Schemes will exceed  €1.4 billion this year" he said.

Date Released: 22 December 2010