Farmers are being reminded that the closing date by which you can choose to defer your reduction period under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) is approaching.

BEAM participants have until June 21, to change their reduction period for bovine manure nitrogen to January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

The ordinary reduction period is July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. However, as a result of the Covid-19 impact on some farmers in meeting their 5% nitrates reduction requirement, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) wrote to the European Commission in January 2021 seeking an extension of the reduction period.

The department opened the facility to change the reduction period on March 19. The deferral is an option for farmers, and you can still stick with the original reduction period if you are on-course to meet it.

Since March 19, some 6,000 BEAM participants have chosen to move their reduction period dates.

Minister Charlie McConalogue said today (Monday, May 31): “Achieving flexibility around the BEAM reference period is a key priority…as I knew that a lot of farmers were in danger of missing the initial reference period.

“I am now urging farmers to use this maximum flexibility to do all they can to meet the requirements of the scheme. Farmers need to take a proactive approach to avoid facing penalties,” he added.

If a farmer considers they cannot meet the 5% reduction requirement by June 30, 2021, they should opt to defer and choose the later 12 month reduction period of January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

The minister confirmed that if a BEAM participant choses to defer, but then meets the 5% target within the original reduction period (i.e. by June 30), they will be advised that they are being removed from the later reduction period, unless they notify the department that they wish to remain in the later period.