Ulster Unionist agricultural spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson MLA has said that farmers are beginning to raise concerns over the cost and viability of the compulsory Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) scheme which came in on Tuesday 1 March.
Mrs Dobson said she has previously said that the Department of Agriculture and UFU-led scheme is not the right way to approach the issue of eradication of BVD from farms.
She added: “A scheme which does not facilitate the removal of Persistently Infected cattle once identified will not produce results.
“It’s also disappointing that those farmers who participated in the voluntary scheme will not receive any dispensation or credit for doing so, despite this being promised to them some years ago.
“The scheme will cost our farmers more than £5 million over the next three years which is an additional £3.44 per tag with a roughly 5% voluntary administration fee on top of that again, but crucially officials cannot tell us how many years this additional levy will last for or indeed when the promised benefits will come.
“I remain concerned that the compulsory scheme, which has no time limit, will simply become yet another open-ended, year on year, multi-million pound compulsory levy on our farmers.
“Even though there is a compensation scheme in place in the Republic of Ireland, it still isn’t working four years on with over 1,000 PI infected herds remaining.”