Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. announced on Monday details of the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM).
This measure will be funded by a combination of EU exceptional aid and Exchequer support, provided in light of the difficult circumstances that Irish beef farmers have been facing as a result of market volatility and uncertainty arising out of Brexit.
The Minister acknowledged, “I am keenly aware that the past few months have been very difficult for beef farmers. There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance.
“The availability of this EU and Exchequer support, together with the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) introduced earlier this year, provides an injection of up to €120m in aid for the beef sector in 2019.”
BEAM will provide financial aid to Irish beef farmers and is targeted towards those farmers most affected. BEAM is also designed to meet the requirements set out by the Commission, including granting support to farmers engaging in actions which enhance their long-term resilience and sustainability.
BEAM is a demand-led, voluntary scheme. Farmers who meet the initial eligibility criteria will then have to commit to meeting the following conditions in order to qualify for aid. Each participant must: be a member of a Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme or a DAFM environmental scheme; and reduce the production of bovine livestock manure nitrogen (total figure) per herd by 5% for a target period (1 July 2020 - 30 June 2021) compared to a reference period (1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019).
Aid will be paid on adult cattle slaughtered between 24 September 2018 and 12 May 2019, at a rate of €100 per animal subject to a maximum of 100 finished animals per herd.
Aid will also be paid on suckler cows that calved in 2018, at a rate of €40 per animal subject to a maximum of 40 sucklers per herd. Dairy herds are not eligible for the measure, with the exception of dairy herds of less than 40 dairy cows. Smaller dairy farms typically have a mixed farming enterprise, with a lower than average dairy farm income, and a beef enterprise accounting for a higher proportion of total farm income.
Animals controlled by slaughtering establishments, and dealer/agent herds, are not eligible for this financial aid.
In the event BEAM is oversubscribed, payment rates may be subject to minor revision. BEAM will open for applications during the third week of August 2019. Applications will be accepted online through AgFood.ie.
The Minister added, “This scheme has been designed to make the application process as user-friendly and accessible as possible for farmers.
"I am delighted to confirm that farmers will be in a position to apply within weeks, with a view to making payments to farmers as quickly as possible.”
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