08 September 1999
Wales to introduce new calf scheme
By FWi staff
WELSH agriculture secretary Christine Gwyther has pledged to re-introduce a Calf Processing Aid Scheme paying farmers to dispose of unwanted dairy bull calves.
Ms Gwyther made the pledge before meeting UK agriculture minister Nick Brown and Scottish rural affairs minister Ross Finnie to discuss the crisis in farming.
She is expected to ask Mr Brown at the summit meeting later today (Wednesday) for around £1.75m to fund a UK-wide mass cull of worthless calves and ewes.
But Wales will introduce its own processing scheme to dispose of calves even if Mr Brown refuses the request for funding, Ms Gwyther told BBC radio.
Welsh assembly officials are considering a scheme which would pay farmers about £20 for each unwanted animal, she told the Farming Today programme.
That is about half the amount paid by the processing scheme withdrawn by the government in July but still enough to cover costs and leave a small profit, she said.
Ms Gwyther said she had the backing of Welsh secretary Alun Michael, indicating that the scheme could be funded from the Welsh assembly budget.