IFA critical of Department's approach to issues with Live Valuation Scheme

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Co Leitrim IFA Animal Health Chairperson, Liam Gilligan, has strongly criticised the inactivity of the Department of Agriculture on key issues raised by IFA in relation to the Live Valuation Scheme.

He told www.leitrimobserver.ie, “IFA has raised very serious problems since last year with the Minister and his senior Department officials about the accuracy of the guideline prices and the lack of independence of the live valuers. This is preventing farmers from achieving a fair and accurate market value assessment of their animals”.

Mr Gilligan said the key element of the Live Valuation Scheme and the fundamental principle it is built on is the independence of the live valuers. This has been seriously undermined by the use of non-market criteria in assessing the value of animals and compounded by the bureaucratic approach by the Department with the live valuers.

IFA has identified key elements of the Valuers’ Code of Practice and the Guidelines for Valuers that must be amended to provide a fair and accurate valuation of TB reactors.  Bert Stewart said the Department claims that the Valuers’ Association have not raised concerns in relation to the prohibitive guidelines are not consistent with the views expressed by a number of valuers who have contacted IFA directly.

Mr Gilligan said serious concerns have also been raised with the Minister and his officials in relation to the accuracy of the guideline prices compiled weekly by the Department. He said, “Cows which still have a number of years of breeding and production are being deemed to have a higher cull value. This clearly points to the gross inaccuracy in the current guideline prices”.

To provide a fair reference point for all breeding animals, the guideline prices must be compiled only from full clearance and dispersal sales, as agreed when the scheme was established nearly 20 years ago, he added.

These key issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency to ensure all farmers losing animals as TB reactors are provided with the opportunity to have their animals assessed fairly and accurately, Mr Gilligan said in conclusion.