The announcement that in-person training will be provided as an option for Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) participants has been welcomed by Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) suckler chair Jimmy Cosgrave.

“This is something that [the] ICSA looked for and I am pleased that the Minister has seen the merit in our argument.

"The decision will come as a great relief to many farmers who faced considerable challenges with the online training for a variety of reasons,” he said.

Cosgrave stated that while the option to complete the training online will suit many participants, it was vital to include an in-person option to ensure no farmer got left behind.

Remote areas

“A lot of our suckler farmers are older and living in remote areas and would have really struggled with completing the seven required modules.

"Now, at least, they will have the opportunity to meet with other farmers and complete the training in an environment where they will have all the necessary support.

“The SCEP scheme is an important one in terms of reaching our climate targets and in terms of financially supporting suckler farmers.

"The goal is to get as many farmers as possible through the scheme to secure those benefits and I am pleased common sense has prevailed on this issue,” he concluded.