Details emerging of second BEEP scheme

Details are beginning to emerge of a second Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme thought to be in the pipeline.

AgriLand understands that the scheme will include the funding and measures from last year’s scheme – the inaugural run of the BEEP, which opened last February – but will also include further funding and additional measures and payments for other actions by farmers that did not form part of last year’s scheme.

A Government source indicated to AgriLand that the proposed new measures will include a €20/calf payment for calves vaccinated against respiratory illness; or for calves that are meal-fed for four weeks before weaning and for two weeks after weaning.

It is understood that a separate €20/calf payment for weighing dairy beef calves will also be available.

It is though that €20 million will be used to fund these new payments. This will bring total BEEP funding to €40 million, including the €20 million for the pre-existing measures rolled-over from the last scheme.

A separate source indicated that the revamped scheme will be announced in the near future.

The possibility of a second BEEP scheme was first mentioned at Government level by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed who – on the day Budget 2020 was announced last October – said that the continuation of the BEEP scheme was being considered as an option for beef farmer income support.

Last year’s BEEP

The first run of the BEEP scheme was designed to incentivise the collection of data that was not available in significant quantities through the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) under the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP).

However,applicants to last year’s BEEP did not have to be participants in the BDGP to apply for the BEEP scheme.

Last year, farmers were paid €40/cow-calf pairing when they weighed a cow and its unweaned calf.

The relatively straightforward scheme saw weights being recorded from March to November 2019, with payments beginning in late October – ahead of the original schedule for payments.

Farmers who did not or could not obtain their own weighing scales had the option of renting the scales out from around 70 marts and co-ops around the country.