Payments under €78 million BEAM anticipated to be made in December

The €78 million set to be drawn down in eligible farmer applications from the €100 million Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) is anticipated to be made in payments to farmers in December, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The full €50 million obtained from the European Commission will be utilised, the department noted; however, the terms and conditions of the scheme cannot be changed.

In a statement to AgriLand, a spokesperson for the department said: “Based on take-up of €78 million, the full €50 million in EU aid will be drawn down, and the balance of €28 million required will be met from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s vote allocation from the exchequer.

It is anticipated that payments under BEAM will be made in December.

“The scheme was designed following stakeholder consultation and notified to the commission by the end of July; the notification deadline provided under the EU exceptional aid regulation.

“It is not possible to subsequently change the terms and conditions of the scheme,” the department statement concluded.

Minister urged to reassess support measures

Meanwhile, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) has urged Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to reassess the support measures currently available to small-scale suckler farmers following a breakdown analysis of the BEAM scheme.

“Recent department figures on BEAM have seen 34,517 farmers apply with an expected spend of just over €78 million,” INHFA president Colm O’Donnell said.

A breakdown of these figures shows a total of 9,295 suckler-only farmers applying with an expected pay-out of €6.5 million.

“There were 10,245 beef-only farms that applied who will receive a pay-out of €32.4 million and there was 14,977 applicants of both beef and suckler cows who will receive a total payment of €39.3 million.

“In total the pay-out on suckler cows comes to €18.6 million with the pay-out on beef cattle killed coming to €59.6 million.

“When we analyse these figures in addition to the very low uptake in BEEP [just over 19,000 farmers] it is clear that neither scheme is working for the small-scale suckler farmer,” said O’Donnell.