Reminder: BEAM scheme closes today at 5:00pm

Farmers are being reminded that the online application for the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme will be closing today, Friday, September 20.

The online application process was opened on August 19 and had closed on Sunday, September 15, but the facility had been reopened and will be available until 5:00pm today.

Speaking at ‘Ploughing 2019’ the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “I encourage anyone who is eligible to apply to avail of this final opportunity to apply for the scheme.”

Ensuring full draw down

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) is calling on Minister Michael Creed to make changes to the BEAM scheme to ensure all of the €100 million funding is drawn down.

Joe Healy, the association’s president, claimed that it would be an “absolute scandal” if some of the money went unspent.

He said: “It would be an absolute scandal if Minister Creed allowed bureaucracy and restrictions to prevent farmers from drawing down all of the €100 million. Livestock farmers are in a desperate income crisis.”

So far, around €80 million of the €100 million has been accounted for in the applications made to date.

Angus Woods, the association’s national livestock chairperson, called for the removal of “unnecessary restrictions” around the scheme, and for an increase in payment rates.

“The minister has several options open to him to allow livestock farmers draw down all the €100 million,” Woods commented.

He could extend the payment period beyond May 12 and he could increase the payment rates to suckler cows close to €80/cow.

As the rules of the scheme currently stand, suckler farmers who apply will receive €40 per eligible animal, up to a maximum of 40 cows per applicant.

“The 5% stocking rate reduction, and the exclusion of dairy farmers with beef enterprises; partnerships; and cattle slaughtered in Northern Ireland – all of these unnecessary restrictions could be removed,” Woods argued.

There have been concerns from many quarters over the possibility of the €100 million going unspent.