The €50 million beef support scheme aimed at beef finishers should be available to all farmers that finish cattle – including dairy farmers, regardless of herd size, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

The beef scheme, announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed earlier this month, will include farmer input into its development, with consultations currently ongoing with farm organisations.

The ICMSA, in its submission to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, also expressed the view that the fund should not be available to dealers, agents or feedlot herds.

The farm organisation contends that the payment should be applied to all eligible cattle slaughtered in the 12 months prior to the date the scheme was announced (June 12, 2019 to June 11, 2020).

In addition, it believes that eligible farmers should receive payment on a maximum of 80 cattle.

Where an animal has been presented for slaughter within 30 days of purchase, including those purchased in the mart, payment should issue to the immediate previous herd-owner, the farm group says.

Payment should also apply to animals reared in the Republic of Ireland and slaughtered in Northern Ireland, the submission proposes.

In terms of amount per animal, the ICMSA says:

The payment rate applied should utilise the full €50 million budget based on the number of eligible animals in that period and applying the 80-head cap.

It is vital that this payment is issued as soon as possible, the ICMSA concludes.