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Teagasc: Pig Levy will Secure Top Class Service

by 5m Editor
25 November 2009, at 10:10am

IRELAND - Teagasc has staunchly defended its proposed pig levy, saying it will ensure the continuation of a world-class technical support service for the Irish pig industry.

The IFA pig committee met yesterday to discuss the issue, but producers had already rejected outright the introduction of the 25c/pig slaughter levy.

According to Independent.ie, IFA pig chairman Tim Cullinan said producers were currently paying statutory levies of more than €1.50/pig.

However, Brendan Lynch, head of the pig production development unit at Teagasc Moorepark, insisted the levy would not be an additional cost for producers while delivering nothing in return.

Mr Lynch said the current pig research levy of 7.6c/pig would cease and participating producers would no longer pay the annual advisory contract fee for on-farm support.

Speaking to the Farming Independent, Mr Lynch said the money would be used to establish a training, research and development fund to support the Teagasc pig production programme.

In return for an annual industry input of €500,000, Teagasc would commit a further €1m to the service and the programme would be reviewed after five years.

"This fund would be paid for and administered by pig producers to support additional frontline staff and an enhanced programme of near-market research, some of which would be carried out on commercial farms," said Mr Lynch.

"It would fund advisory support including independent advice, benchmarking of unit performance and production costs through PigSys, as well as farm visits.

"The fund would also be used for staff training, tailored to the needs and size of units and strategic long-term planning for the industry," he added.

The pig industry expert pointed out that the proposed contribution of 25c/pig was similar to that paid by pig producers in Northern Ireland, and modest compared with similar programmes in several European countries.

He added that the higher productivity of herds using the PigSys benchmarking service was well established and worth around €7.5m/year to the industry.

Mr Lynch said the proposal was put forward in the context of the threat to the Teagasc pig service from cuts in the Government grant-in-aid and imminent staff retirements.

"This is a once-off opportunity to ensure the continuation of a world-class technical support service for the Irish pig industry. Failure to grasp this opportunity could see the Irish pig industry contract, as did the UK industry once the support of their pig service from ADAS was scaled down in the mid 1990s," he warned.

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