Farmer representatives have criticised DAERA for considering introducing cuts to compensation for TB reactor cattle.

“Farmers seem to be the fall guy again. We recognise there are constraints on the budget within DAERA, but why are farmers always the ones who have to foot the bill?” said James Lowe from the NI Agricultural Producers’ Association (NIAPA).

Lowe pointed out that the current system only pays farmers the market value for TB reactors and does not reflect lost future production.

“It’s not a compensation payment,” he maintained.

The NIAPA chair also highlighted that DAERA previously agreed that TB compensation would not be reviewed until two years after its new TB strategy was fully implemented, but many aspects of it are yet to be introduced, such as a badger cull.

Representatives meeting on Thursday

Meanwhile, representatives from the UFU met with DAERA officials last Thursday to discuss the Department’s budget for 2023/2024.

“We made it perfectly clear that there are to be no cuts to the value of livestock removed from farms that have gone down with TB, in an attempt to make up for this shortfall,” said UFU president David Brown.