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Minister Coveney Urges All Participants in Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme to Respond Immediately to Outstanding Correspondence

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today urged all farmers who are participating in the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme to reply as soon as possible to outstanding letters from his Department. "I am particularly anxious that all outstanding issues, which are preventing payment, be resolved without further delay" the Minister said. "The Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme has been very effective in helping promote improved animal husbandry in the national herd, to the benefit of all concerned, and I am very keen that everything necessary be done to help ensure its smoother operation" he added.

The Minister explained that, following a review of procedures, he had decided to introduce a new requirement on the submission of data under the Scheme. "I have decided that, with effect from 1 September 2011, all information required under the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme must be submitted to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) within one year of the date of birth of each calf participating in the Scheme" the Minister explained, adding that "a grace period until the 31 August 2011 will be allowed for the submission of data for any participants currently with animals older than 11 months".

Concluding, the Minister emphasised that this change is designed to improve the flow of payments to farmers under the Scheme. "There is no benefit to anyone involved, farmers or Department officials, in having to engage in lengthy correspondence in order to resolve minor issues" the Minister said "and I would urge all farmers in the Scheme to make the effort to keep accurate records and make the necessary returns, thereby avoiding unnecessary delays in payments".

Failure to provide the required information within this timeframe will result in payment not being made.

Date Released: 20 July 2011