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Minister Coveney launches the Targeted Animal Health Advisory Service

The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD today launched the New Targeted Advisory Service which is a targeted support to farmers to deal with certain animal health issues arising on Irish farms. 

Launching the service, which is being funded under the Rural Development Programme (2014 – 2020), Minister Coveney said “The availability of the new targeted advisory service will assist farmers who are experiencing difficulty in dealing with a number of diseases that give rise to less than optimum returns from their farms.  The diseases covered by the new arrangement at this stage include Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), Johne’s Disease (JD) and SCC(mastitis) which are currently being addressed by industry-led initiatives, with support of Government and which are coordinated by Animal Health Ireland”.

Minister Coveney said that “it is expected that up to 2,500 farmers may avail of  the on-farm advisory sessions in the first year 2016”, adding that “the focus of the first year of the service will be on BVD and Johne’s Disease.  Each year these diseases give rise to substantial losses in production on Irish farms, thus having a detrimental effect on farm income”.

The Cost-Benefit Analysis carried out on the BVD eradication programme showed that the elimination of this disease alone will provide farmers with a gain of over €100 million per annum.   In the case of Johne’s disease, the new Targeted Advisory Service will be used to provide a sustainable basis for the delivery of the on-farm risk assessments within the programme, thereby facilitating a transition from the current pilot phase, in which some 1,300 farmers are participating, to a future expanded national voluntary programme.

Minister Coveney said that Animal Health Ireland has already commenced its country wide specialised training Programme of private veterinary practitioners who will in turn deliver the advisory sessions and herd investigations at individual farm level.  In the coming weeks, AHI will commence accepting applications from farmers wishing to participate in the new services and will coordinate these requests with the trained veterinary specialists. 

Concluding, the Minister said “the service will bring about further improvements in the area of farmed animal health and it will underpin the objectives set out in Food Wise 2025 in bringing about a sustainable and profitable future for the Irish food sector”.

Note for Editors

A cost benefit analysis study, funded by DAFM, is currently being undertaken by Teagasc in relation to IBR – it is nearing completion.  The outcome of this study will be presented by Animal Health Ireland (AHI) to relevant stakeholders who will decide on whether to progress towards a national eradication programme, or not. If such an initiative is taken, it is envisaged that this animal health advisory service will be similarly utilised in a targeted way.     

It is planned to extend the service to pig and poultry farmers in due course.

View Press Release as a PDF:  DAFM PR10/2016 (pdf 570Kb) 




Date Released: 27 January 2016