Calf scheme given a new extension

12 February 1999

Calf scheme given a new extension

FARM minister Nick Brown has announced another extension of the calf processing scheme.

It will now run until July 31, but there will be no further reprieve beyond that. "In view of the need to give certainty about the final end-date of the scheme there will be no further extension. It will end on July 31," Mr Brown said.

The scheme was originally due to be axed by government last November. But, after concerted industry lobbying, the minister agreed to an extension until Mar 31, at lower payment rates.

Beef uncertainty

Mr Brown said on Wednesday: "Farmers organisations have pressed for a continuation of the scheme in view of the uncertain situation facing the beef market. When I announced on Nov 16, 1998, a package of aid for the livestock sector, I extended the life of the scheme until Mar 31, 1999. I undertook then to keep the scheme under review.

"I have now concluded with my colleagues that, in view of market circumstances, we should further extend the scheme to July 31, 1999."

The news was welcomed by the farming unions. NFU president Ben Gill said the extension was a major help for livestock and dairy farmers still struggling without export markets. "Ending the scheme at a time when the industry is still suffering so many problems would have had potentially disastrous results," he said.

The current compensation for male calves slaughtered before they reach 20 days of age is £56.89/head.

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