BEEP scheme oversubscription concerns raised in Dail

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, must guarantee payment levels for applicants to the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme, according to a Fianna Fail TD.

Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine for Fianna Fail, Charlie McConalogue, said: “The minister informed my parliamentary colleague deputy Eugene Murphy last week in the Dail that there would be a linear cut to BEEP payments if the programme was oversubscribed.”

Minister Creed explained that the €20 million funding allocated will allow 500,000 suckler cows with calves to enter the scheme.

The minister added if more than 500,000 suckler cows with calves are entered into the scheme, “it will require a linear cut”.

McConalogue has called on Minister Creed to “immediately reverse his approach” saying that the minister’s comments will “gravely concern tens of thousands of suckler farmers who were considering signing up to the scheme”.

McConalogue said: “The Minister should be doing everything within his power to give certainty to suckler farmers for this pilot scheme.

Instead, he is talking down and diluting this new €20 million pilot which was announced in the budget last year.

Concluding, deputy McConalogue said: “The minister must at once provide certainty for farmers applying to this pilot and reassure farmers there will be no diminution to the payments which were originally promised.”