Farm organisations call on farmers to apply for Beef Finishers Payment

Farm organisations are continuing to call on farmers to apply for the Beef Finishers Payment, which opened for applications yesterday (Wednesday, August 19).

Des Morrison, the livestock chairperson of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), urged livestock farmers who sent animals to the factory in the reference period of February 1 to June 12 this year to submit their application to the scheme.

Morrison looked to remind farmers who had sold animals at the mart or to dealers that, in the event of those animals being slaughtered within 30 days of purchase, the ‘selling farmer’ is also entitled to payment.

“The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine should make sure that applications for this scheme are processed in the shortest time-frame after the closing date of September 9, and payments should be issued promptly thereafter,” Morrison urged.

Scheme opens for applications

Minister Dara Calleary confirmed yesterday that the Beef Finishers Payment was open for applications.

The scheme is a once-off, exchequer-funded grant-aid scheme under the Covid-19 State Aid Temporary Framework, with funding totaling €50 million.

The funding was initially announced by former Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, with the details of the payment being worked out under the new government.

The objective of the payment is, according to Minister Calleary, to “provide support for beef finishing farms in Ireland which have been severely impacted by the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The details of the payment were announced on Wednesday, August 5. An estimated 42,000 farmers are 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.

Applications must be made online and the application window will remain open until Wednesday, September 9. Payments are set to be made in November.

IFA

Following the announcement yesterday, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) urged farmers to apply “as soon as possible”.

IFA National Livestock chairman Brendan Golden is encouraging farmers to apply for the payment “without delay”.

“It’s crucial that the money gets out to farmers as soon as possible and that the full €50 million is spent,” Golden said.

He added that the payment will be a “significant boost for the autumn cattle trade”.