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Stackyard News Dec 06

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    Farm health planning - cattle initiative

The NFU is backing a move to access extra cash for voluntary Farm Health Planning within the cattle sector.



Farm Health Planning (FHP) is central to the delivery of the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy in Great Britain and is based on three principles

• Working in partnership
• Understanding the roles and responsibilities and
• Prevention is better than cure

Funding, under the Farm Health Planning Cattle Initiative, will be available for a range of projects which when linked together must achieve the overall initiative of improving animal health in the English cattle sector.

The scheme hopes to demonstrate the benefits of farm health planning both in terms of increases in cattle health and welfare and business profitability, delivering advice and training on FHP products, such as cost-benefit models and planning templates, and facilitating farmer and adviser networks.

Applications for project funding are being invited now. The closing date for applications is Friday January 19 2007

NFU animal health and welfare adviser Catherine McLaughlin said: “The opportunity that this cattle initiative brings to the dairy and beef sectors must not be allowed to pass by.

“Farm health planning can benefit all livestock owners by improving the health and welfare of their animals, often bringing improvements in production and increased levels of profitability as well as wider benefits of rural and agricultural sustainability.

“Farmers should encourage their vets, farm advisers and nutritionists to put forward innovative projects for funding. If you’re in a farmer group, and have a proposal that actively encourages FHP and meets the criteria as set out by Defra, get a funding application in – you might be successful. There is little time to loose in putting bids together but the effort in the short term should pay dividends for the longer term.”

1. The Animal Health and Welfare Strategy states that: ‘Animals that are cared for appropriately and in accordance with existing welfare standards are more likely to be healthy, and less likely to contract or spread disease. It is essential for all animal owners to have the necessary skills to care for their animals, exercising good practice and using veterinary services and medicines appropriately.’

2. Details for the scheme and funding can be found on the Defra website. The State Aid funding will only be available until March 2008 and is being offered on a ‘use it or loose it’ basis.

3. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are promoting FHP via their own funding mechanisms.

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