As part of today’s Budget 2020 announcement, the introduction of a new programme for dairy calf to beef and a second round of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP) will be introduced as part of a tranche of new supports for farmers.

Speaking this afternoon, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “Today’s budget is unique in that it aims to preserve the strong financial supports that assist our agri-food sector, while simultaneously providing for the potential of a significant shock to the sector in the guise of a no-deal Brexit.

“€110 million will be made available for the agri-food sector in the first tranche, to be supplemented by any exceptional aid provided from the EU.”

In broad terms, Minister Creed outlined that the following options will be considered:
  • The continuation of the pilot BEEP suckler cow/calf weighing scheme with a view to such a measure becoming part of the next RDP – subject to an evaluation of its effectiveness;
  • The provision of supports for beef farmers rearing dairy/beef animals, to encourage best practice and improve the efficiency of such enterprises;
  • Encouraging farm practices that ensure high standards of animal welfare on beef farms.

The Minister for Agriculture stressed: “The provision of immediate support for our beef sector of €85 million will be a first priority.”

Continuing, Minister Creed outlined: “We will also want to support food companies wishing to reorient production and marketing towards non UK markets [€5 million] and to provide necessary support to other sectors to improve competitiveness [€6 million].

While supports cannot fully address the negative effects of a no-deal Brexit for the agri food sector, this first tranche of supports will be used to ameliorate the immediate impact on farmers.

He added: “Regardless of Brexit, I am providing almost €85 million in targeted schemes to support sustainable beef farming.

“This includes almost €45 million for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), and a further €40 million for targeted supports. I intend to consult with stakeholders as to the use of these funds.”

Concluding, the minister indicated that €18 million is included for the continuation of the sheep welfare scheme, and that the budget for Bord Bia will be increased by over €1.6 million with much of the additional funding to be used to promote Irish beef and sheep meat.