Details of €50 million Beef Finishers Payment revealed

Details of the Beef Finishers Payment (BFP) have been revealed by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Dara Calleary.

This €50 million exchequer-funded scheme is intended to “provide income support for farmers with beef finishing enterprises, who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

An estimated 42,000 farmers will be eligible to apply.

This projection is based on the number of cattle sent for slaughter in the period from Saturday, February 1, to Friday, June 12, 2020 – subject to a limit of 100 animals per herd.

Based on estimates of eligible animals, a rate in the region of €100 per animal will be payable.

In the event of an over-subscription, the rate of payment per animal will be subject to a linear cut (to remain within the available overall budget of €50 million).

The opening date for applications will be Wednesday, August 19. The closing date will be Wednesday, September 9.

‘Eligible animals’ must:
  • Have been slaughtered in the reference period from Saturday, February 1, to Friday, June 12, 2020;
  • Be aged eight months or more when slaughtered;
  • Be resident on the qualifying herd for at least 30 days prior to slaughter (if not, the previous owner is eligible for payment if he or she is an applicant and has had the animal for over 30 days on his or her holding);
  • Not be identified on department systems as presented for slaughter by, or on behalf of, a factory;
  • Be subject to a cap on payments, whereby the cap is 100 eligible animals per herd.

An ‘eligible applicant’ must:

  • Be a farmer who has presented animals for slaughter in the reference period;
  • Hold an active herd number with Herd Owner Status;
  • Farm a holding in respect of which a valid Basic Payment Scheme application has been submitted in 2020 to the department;
  • Not use an agent or dealer herd number (agent or dealer herd numbers are not eligible for payment);
  • Be a member of the Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme at the time of application, or undertake to become a member of a quality scheme prior to September 30, 2020.

Announcing the scheme this evening, Wednesday, August 5, Minister Calleary said: “I am fully aware of the difficulties caused by Covid-19 in the Irish beef sector and the consequences for those in beef farming and for the rural economy as a whole.

“Farmers with finished animals suffered from both reduced prices and other restrictions in getting animals to market.

The closure of the food-service market in Ireland, the UK and beyond has had a dramatic impact on the industry and, in particular, those who supply it to make their living.

“This targeted support for farmers who finished cattle during the period from February 1 to June 12 will help to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It will provide a valuable additional income support this year.”

Minister Calleary noted that, though the scheme will be funded by the Irish exchequer, its details have “been notified to the European Commission in accordance with the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework”.

Stay tuned to AgriLand for further details…and for reaction to the announcement.