Exclusion of dairy farmers from BEAM ‘sets a disastrous precedent’

The exclusion of dairy farmers from the Beef Emergency Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme has again been heavily criticised by one of the country’s leading farmer organisations.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has claimed that the finalised version of the scheme – which was revealed this morning, Monday, July 29, by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – was “unjust, unfair and sets a disastrous precedent” by not including dairy enterprises.

The scheme as it currently stands – which will exclude dairy farmers with more than 40 dairy cows – will now need to be signed off on by the European Commission before it can be implemented.

The exclusion will have long-term negative effects and can only be interpreted as the Government conceding to the loudest voices as opposed to the fairest argument.

Pat McCormack, the association’s president, said: “The ICMSA profoundly condemns the decision. Dairy farmers unfairly shut out of a compensation scheme, which they had every right to expect to share, would absolutely not forget this deliberate snub.”

He argued that “the bottom line here” is that the effect of the decision would see some full-time farmers being “shut out”, while some part-time farmers with “significant” off-farm incomes would be included.

“We had a right to expect that family dairy farms who met all the criteria around losing money on beef through Brexit would be included in the fund,” McCormack added.

It’s worth pointing out that the department used the slaughter figures from both beef and dairy farmers to justify the funding in the first place.

“Unfortunately, the department appears to have sided with groups who – to get more for themselves – argued for the exclusion of dairy farmers on spurious grounds,” claimed the ICMSA president.

McCormack called it a “serious mistake” and a “serious injustice inflicted on full-time family farms by the department”.

“It’s a bad day for the department – and a very bad day for Irish farming,” he claimed in conclusion.

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