‘No plans’ to reopen BEEP scheme application process

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine does not have any immediate plans to reopen the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme for further applications, AgriLand understands.

In the run up to the closing date for applications – last Friday, February 22 – numerous farm organisations were clamouring for the deadline to be extended; however, it is understood that the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, does not have any intentions of doing so at this point.

Last Friday AgriLand reported that, by close of business the previous day, 15,807 entrants had applied for the scheme.

When asked for confirmation on the final figures for the number of registered applicants; a spokesperson for the department said the final figure will be made available later this week.

Several farm representative bodies have been insisting that the application process should remain open, stating that the three-week window was not long enough.

Last Friday, on the day the BEEP scheme closed for applications, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) called for the closing date to be pushed back by a week, to Friday March 1.

The association’s National Livestock Committee chairman, Angus Woods, argued that the application period was “far too short”, and that suckler farmers had not been given adequate time to apply for the scheme.

Minister Creed needs to ensure that the BEEP scheme is a strong success and he must extend the application period to give every farmer the opportunity to apply.

According to IFA figures, unconfirmed by the department, approximately 17,000 farmers have applied on around 400,000 cows.

Farmers that have applied will have between March 8 and November 1 to submit the weights of unweaned calves and their dams, in return for a payment of €40 / cow-calf pairing.

Payments are due to be made throughout the month of December.

A full list of the terms and conditions for the scheme can be found here.