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Minister announces €1M funding to improve Cattle & Sheep Breeding

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today announced a €1m grant to support improvements in the breeding of cattle and sheep in 2010.

A total of €800,000 of the grant will be paid this year to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) for beef and dairy cattle breeding, while the balance (€200,000) will go to Sheep Ireland for sheep breeding activities.

This funding is additional to the €1.5 million announced earlier this year for ICBF and Sheep Ireland under the National Development Plan towards specific projects aimed at the improvement of beef, dairy and sheep breeding.

Minister Smith said the grant demonstrated the ongoing commitment of the Government to enhance the efficiency of the Livestock sector. He stressed that constant improvement in livestosk breeding is essential to drive the profitability of the Industry.

The Minister stated that "ICBF has an excellent track record in helping improve the profitability of the dairy and beef sectors through the application of scientific expertise and modern breeding techniques in the development of the EBI and Eurostar indexes. Significant state funding to ICBF has helped provide a knowledge capacity within the cattle breeding sector which underpins future sustainable development of the Livestock industry here. I am delighted to see ICBF combining innovative techniques such as Genomics into their work, which I believe is a major step in recognising the potential of the Agrifood sector to be at the heart of Ireland's Smart Economy".

The Minister also added that funding for sheep breeding was for the provision of genetic evaluations, sheep breeding programs and the sheep breeding database which were critical elements of a profitable sheep sector. He encouraged sheep breeders to collaborate with Sheep Ireland by participating in the breeding programmes which they are running.

Concluding the Minister reiterated the importance of the livestock sector to Ireland's economy and the application of SMART technologies to the livestock-breeding sector: "The export oriented livestock sector is a critical component of the sustainable agri-food industry which contributes up to €8 billion to the Irish economy annually. ICBF and Sheep Ireland are representative of the livestock breeding sector and are uniquely positioned to apply the most modern scientific breeding expertise to ensure continued export led growth and employment in the agri-industry".

Note to editors:

For further information on ICBF: www.icbf.com

For further information on Sheep Ireland: www.sheep.ie

PR 118/10 - 06.07.2010
Michael Bailey NCBC, Dermot Ryan DAFF, Brian Wickham ICBF, Tom Corcoran NCBC, Minister for Agriculture Fisheries & Food Brendan Smith TD.

PR 118/10 - 06.07.2010
Mr Brendan Smith TD Minister for Agriculture Fisheries & Food, Michael Bailey NCBC

PR 118/10 - 06.07.2010
Minister for Agriculture Fisheries & Food Brendan Smith TD. , Tom Corcoran NCBC, , Brian Wickham ICBF, Dermot Ryan DAFF

Date Released: 06 July 2010