Creed on BEAM: ‘Not a brown cent’ will go to factory owners

“Not a brown cent” will go to factory owners from the new Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM), Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has stressed.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland earlier today, Monday, July 29, the minister said that the money is aimed at farmers who are almost exclusively dependent on the beef sector for income.

Commenting on the scheme, he said: “I was absolutely adamant from the outset that this was a beef fund and would be targeted at beef farmers.

“It will not be available to the owners of beef plants; absolutely not a brown cent will go to the owners of meat factories.

I was also anxious that the fund would be focused on the beef sector exclusively and the focus will be on the 75,000 beef farmers around the country.

The minister noted that he made a “minor provision for small dairy farmers”.

“I did resist opening up the scheme to dairy farmers in general because I believe it should be focused on those who have an almost exclusive dependence on the beef sector.

“It is open to dairy farmers with under 40 cows, who would have lower than average dairy incomes. The average dairy herd is almost 100 cows now so those with less than 40 dairy cows will be eligible to apply on the basis of animals that they had slaughtered.

“This can deliver in certain circumstances up to €10,000 per farmer applying. It’s a demand-led scheme and I think it’s important now that we encourage all those eligible farmers to apply.”

Climate measures

When asked if he accepted the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) recommendations put forward last week calling for a reduction in the national suckler herd, the minister said:

“I accept that the Government has a comprehensive plan published for the economy in general to respond to climate and agriculture in particular.

It involves meeting specific targets that have been set for the agricultural sector; that can be done without cutting the herd – but cutting the herd cannot be ruled out in the event that we do not embrace all the other issues that have been clearly outlined.

The minister also pointed to ongoing environmental efficiency efforts in the agricultural sector.

“We have been working on climate measures for some years now, improving the genetic merit of the herd, a Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environmental Scheme; cumulatively both of those have committed €550 million.

“We have published a detailed roadmap – 34 specific actions which are required to meet the targets for the agricultural sector. They are what my focus is on.

“If we don’t embrace those then other more drastic measures may be necessary – but I am confident we can get the buy-in which would accelerate our sustainability credentials which is obligatory under the national targets but is also being demanded by the international markets.”