Longford Leader Farming: Applications for BEAM scheme are now open

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Michael Creed

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. has announced that the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) has opened for applications from Monday, August 19.

BEAM will open for applications from August 19 to September 8 inclusive. Applications will be accepted online through AgFood.ie. Applications will only be accepted online, to ensure that payments are made as promptly as possible.

This measure will be funded by a combination of EU exceptional aid and Exchequer support, which is being 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 stated: “This scheme has been designed to make the application process as user-friendly and accessible as possible for farmers.

“The prolonged period of depressed prices and ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, has led to a difficult period of market disturbance. The BEAM, coupled 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.

It 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 in the scheme must: be a member of or commit to joining the Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) 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.

The Minister added: “I would encourage beef farmers to submit an application to the BEAM when it opens on Monday. I am keenly aware that farmers are dealing with very challenging market circumstances at present.

“This scheme will provide some additional income support at a very critical time.”