Excluding one sector from BEAM is ‘wrong-headed’ – IFA

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said that its National Council is “unanimous” on the need for changes to the Beef Emergency Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme.

The council, made up of representatives from all sectors and counties, has reiterated its support for the association’s ‘six principles’ – which state that all prime cattle should be included in the €100 million aid fund.

Following the meeting of the council last Friday, July 19, Joe Healy, the association’s president, said that it was “wrong-headed and ill-judged that the minister [Michael Creed] should seek to exclude one farming sector”.

It sets a dangerous precedent and it’s a very divisive move by the minister. The view of the council is that the minister has approached this in a very dogmatic way, without any genuine consultation.

According to the National Council, Minister Creed’s proposed scheme “is based on the assumption that all relevant animals in the reference period will be applied for and paid on”.

“This is despite the fact that there are conditions in his draft scheme which will keep a lot of animals out,” Healy added.

He warned that: “The way the minister has designed the scheme, it is certain to result in the €100 million not being fully spent.

This is wrong and Minister Creed must ensure the scheme is set up in a way that every cent of the €100 million is paid to farmers.

Healy concluded his remarks by arguing that cattle from the dairy herd could be included in the scheme without pay-outs to farmers being reduced.

“If the scheme was based on realistic assumptions, the minister could include all prime cattle from the dairy herd and the estimated cost of the extra animals could be covered, without any reduction in the proposed payment rates”, he said, while adding that: “The minister must also exclude all factory feedlots.”