Pig producers urged to apply to industry competitiveness scheme

Friday, 19 May, 2017

Article Written by Dr Geoff Thompson

Last week DAERA opened the application window for the Northern Ireland Pig Industry Competitiveness Scheme. The scheme, which has a budget of almost £900,000, aims to enhance the competitiveness of the NI pig industry whilst reducing the sector’s environmental footprint through the provision of funding to encourage producers to engage in an endoparasite control programme. Full details of the scheme are available on the DAERA website.

What support is available?

Within the scheme, it is proposed that 100% financial assistance will be given to producers to purchase all types of approved wormer medication (although the percentage covered may be reduced if uptake is higher than anticipated). Eligible products include: injectables, in feed medication, pre-mix for home mixers, top dressing and medication delivered through liquid systems. The maximum amount of funding available per farm will be determined using APHIS data as of 31st May 2017. However, at this stage it is envisaged that each producer will be able to apply for up to £8.40 per sow and up to £1.35 per growing/finishing pig based on two farrowing cycles. This means that a 100 sow unit may be able to claim up to £840 for their sows and up to £3,510 for growing pigs (assuming 13 piglets per litter) to cover the cost of treatment. The proposed treatment plan includes two blanket treatments (6 months apart) and individual treatments prior to entering the farrowing house for sows and three treatments for growing pigs delivered at 9, 15 and 21 weeks of age to break the 6 week life cycle of the worms and prevent new worm eggs from being excreted into the environment.

What do I need to be eligible to apply?

In order to avail of the scheme, producers need to have:

A Category 1 or 2 DAERA Farm Business Identification Number,
Have attended a Farm Family Key Skills training workshop on respiratory and parasitic control through CAFRE,
Written confirmation on headed paper from a veterinary practitioner that in their professional opinion, endoparasites have been present on the farm in the last 6 months.

Any farmer still needing to complete the required FFKS workshop is encouraged to enrol via the CAFRE website. An additional course is being held on 23rd May in Loughry College, Cookstown at 7pm.  

How do I apply?

Due to the timescale to deliver the EU Exceptional Aid Package, the window to apply for this scheme is tight. Application forms must be downloaded from the DAERA website, completed and returned to DAERA by post before 4pm on the 31st May 2017. Successful applicants will receive a Letter of Offer detailing the maximum amount of funding available. The Letter of Offer will also include an Acceptance Form which needs to be returned within 14 days and a Claim Form which must be submitted before the 8th of September 2017. Applicants may only purchase medication after the date of the Letter of Offer and all claims will be paid in arrears.