€100 million support fund for beef farmers ‘secured in Brussels’

A fund of €100 million aimed at supporting struggling beef farmers has been agreed upon by the European Commission, AgriLand understands.

It is understood that the commission has agreed to a fund of €50 million, while the Irish Government is also expected to match this figure – bringing the total amount to €100 million.

The decision follows a recent submission from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to the commission seeking a significant, multi-million euro fund – specifically for beef farmers – in response to current market conditions.

The move also follows weeks of farmer-led protests across the country on the issue of ongoing stagnant beef prices under a cloud of Brexit uncertainty.

AgriLand understands that the package was agreed between the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, and Fine Gael Ireland-South MEP election candidate, Andrew Doyle, during a meeting in Brussels this week.

It is understood that full details on the package will be finalised over the coming days.

‘Detailed case’

Last month, AgriLand revealed that the department had submitted “a detailed case” to the European Commission for support and exceptional aid – specifically for the beef sector.

At the time, a Government source said that the economic argument put forward by the department was “quite complicated” for a number of reasons.

These include: the fact that a “significant ask” for aid in the context of a no-deal Brexit is still on the table; that the threat of a no-deal Brexit is still very real, albeit the timeline has been deferred; the fact that the UK continues to be a member of the EU and by extension still has a seat on the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers; and in light of current beef price difficulties due to increased kill from the dairy herd and the overhang of last summer’s drought across the continent.

Stay tuned to AgriLand for more updates on this story…

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