Department called on to drop reduction requirement for BEAM

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is being called on to remove the production reduction requirement under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme.

Brendan Golden, the national livestock chairperson of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), said that the association had put proposals to the department to suspend the 5% reduction requirement, in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Golden said that, due to the restrictions resulting from the virus outbreak, “marts are closed and not operating normally, [and] the movement and value of stock is totally disrupted”.

It is not reasonable for Minister Michael Creed or the European Commission to insist that farmers who participated in BEAM be forced to reduce their livestock numbers this year commencing from July 1.

The IFA has asked Minister Creed to put the case to the commission and to get agreement for the reduction requirement to be dropped.

The terms and conditions of the scheme state that participants must commit to “reduce 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, as recorded on department systems”.

Slurry exports are not reckonable as a reduction under the terms and conditions.

Milk prices

In other IFA-related news, the association is urging co-ops to hold milk prices for supplies in the month of March.

Tom Phelan, the IFA national dairy chairperson, called on co-op board members to “do everything they can” to hold prices.

“There is no denying that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on dairy demand, international trade and commodity markets is challenging,” he highlighted.

“However, just as every other member of society, farmers’ confidence is also badly shaken. This is their busiest time of year, and also when their cash-flow comes under the greatest strain,” he added.