Killeen Welcomes Introduction Of Dairy Efficiency Programme
Junior Agriculture Minister Tony Killeen has welcomed the announcement of a new three-year Dairy Efficiency Programme under which EUR18 million will be spent in encouraging significant efficiency gains on Irish dairy farms.
[ClickPress, Wed Dec 16 2009] The Programme will support the transfer to milk producers of technology and knowledge that will help them to adopt best practice in the running of their enterprises.
Commenting on the background to the new programme, Minister of State Killeen said: “The dairy industry, while open to great opportunities, faces also many challenges as it prepares for quota abolition and the realities of competing in a global marketplace. At producer level the focus must be on maximising efficiency in order to compete and to cope with periods of severe volatility like that which we have recently experienced. The Government's commitment to the development of the Smart Economy is therefore as relevant to dairying as it is to any other sector of the economy. Initiatives like the Dairy Efficiency Programme exemplify that commitment, and indeed are vital in ensuring that the fine work being done in agricultural colleges around the country is carried through to full-time careers in farming."
Commenting further on the programme, the Clare Fianna Fail T.D. indicated that EUR6 million will be made available in each of 2010, 2011 and 2012 to encourage the participation by dairy farmers in the programme. The groups which will operate under the programme will be formed and assisted by facilitators who have been trained by Teagasc to a FETAC-accredited standard, will place particular emphasis on the adoption of best practice in relation to grassland management, breeding and financial management. Participants in the programme will have their progress monitored by their facilitator, and they will be required to meet certain standards in relation to attendance and project completion. In return they will receive a payment at the end of each year, with the level of payment determined by the participation rate in the Programme.
Minister of State Killeen added: "The availability of unspent Single Payment Scheme funds arising from the Health Check agreement provides an opportunity to further reinforce the initiatives that the Department has undertaken to help the dairy industry to look to the future with optimism. The Dairy Efficiency Programme will complement the innovative approach already taken to the Milk Quota Trading Scheme, to the modernisation of the milk quota regulations, to the encouragement of Milk Production Partnerships, to the allocation of quota to new entrants and to the support of future-oriented dairy research.”
Further details in relation to the Dairy Efficiency Programme, which will be up and running as will be up-and-running as early as possible in 2010, will be made available shortly”, he concluded.
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