Creed rules out changes to BEAM scheme conditions…

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has responded to farmer calls for the removal of the production reduction requirement under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme.

This week, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) submitted a proposal to the department to suspend the scheme’s 5% reduction requirement, due to the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the agricultural sector.

Brendan Golden, chair of the IFA’s National Livestock Committee, contends that in light of disruption to the mart trade “it is not reasonable” for Minister Creed, or the European Commission, to insist that farmers participating in BEAM be forced to reduce livestock numbers this year – commencing from July 1.

The terms and conditions of the scheme state that participants must commit to reducing the production on the holding of bovine livestock manure nitrogen by 5% for the period July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, as compared with the period July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019.

However, it appears the minister will continue to uphold the current terms are conditions of scheme.

In response to the IFA proposal, a spokesperson for Minister Creed told AgriLand that: “The reference period doesn’t commence until July 2020 which should allow successful recipients of the scheme the time to meet the terms and conditions set out.”

Latest mart restrictions to remain

Earlier this week, the minister also poured cold water on an appeal for changes to the current Covid-19 essential service restrictions on the country’s marts.

It followed reports that many operators seek a return to the “very strict measures” that marts had operated prior to the nationwide closure.

The loss of the public auction system is said to be proving particularly problematic for the trade.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the minister said told this publication the following: “We are in the midst of an unprecedented public health emergency where the entire country has been asked to make great sacrifices in the interests of saving lives.

“All measures to date have been implemented on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

It is regrettable to say the least that any organisation would seek to undermine the advice of the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan and the NPHET at this time.

“The minister and the department will continue to act in the best interests of public health in an effort to protect farmers and their families, as well as the wider community,” it was stated.