There is currently no expectation to reopen SCEP (the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme) for applications, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Responding to a query from Agriland on weather the SCEP will reopen for another round of applications, DAFM said: “There is currently no expectation that the SCEP will be opening again for applications.”

However, the DAFM statement did not categorically rule out the possibility of SCEP reopening: “In the event that a second tranche of SCEP is launched, applications will be accepted from those herdowners who meet the required conditions and eligibility criteria of the new SCEP programme at that time.”

SCEP is a five-year programme which opened for online applications on March 20, 2023, and closed on May 22, 2023.

There was a 25-calendar day period after the May 22 closing date, during which late applications were accepted with a reduction in payment of 1% per-working-day.

Applications received after the 25-day period were ineligible.

The DAFM statement said: “Over 20,700 SCEP applications were received and even though some have withdrawn since or have failed one or more the eligibility criteria since, the scheme is still over subscribed in terms of the financial allocation in the Cap Strategic Plan (CSP).”

As of Tuesday, October 17, over 1,400 suckler farmers were set to be removed from SCEP.

These farmers were removed from the suckler cow scheme as they had failed to apply for Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) approval before the extended deadline date of Monday, October 16.

Responding to a query from Agriland asking DAFM to confirm the number of SCEP applicants that had not applied for SBLAS approval before the deadline, the department said: “There are 1,469 SCEP participants who failed to apply to Bord Bia for SBLAS membership, or have applied and subsequently cancelled their SBLAS application by October 16, 2023.

“These participants will be removed from SCEP and no payment will issue for 2023 or subsequent years.”