Further payments to applicants under the 2019 Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme have been announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

Speaking yesterday, Sunday, December 1, the minister said: “I am pleased to announce that payments have commenced to applicants who have completed the weighing and submission of data in respect of their eligible animals.

Beginning today, payments to the value of €13,239,560 are issuing to 13,290 farmers, giving a total of €15,306,280 being paid to 16,424 farmers participating in the pilot.

“The data provided under this important initiative will help to improve the environmental and economic performance of our suckler herds,” the minister added.

Minister Creed said: “Payments under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme and the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) will also commence in the coming weeks representing a total of €120 million in support for the beef sector in 2019.

Concluding, Minister Creed stressed: “I am very aware of how important this support is, not just for beef farmers and their families, but for the communities in which they live and the wider rural economy.”

Taoiseach’s CAP comments

separately, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the Government is “busy forming alliances” across Europe to negotiate a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) “that benefits Ireland”.

“My message today is that the Government will continue to prioritise the CAP budget,” the Taoiseach said, speaking at the AGM of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) in Limerick on Friday, November 29.

“To do so, we are prepared to contribute more to the overall EU budget if it is spent on things that contribute to the advancement of the European ideal…programmes that work and have stood the test of time, like CAP, which has given Europe food security and helped to balance regional development across the continent,” the Taoiseach commented.

We also need to make the new CAP much greener, incentivising, encouraging and remunerating farmers and industry to reduce emissions, produce green energy and promote biodiversity.

He said he was “looking forward” to working on development of the incoming eco-schemes under the reformed CAP, and he called for a green scheme “a little like REPS [Rural Environmental Protection Scheme]”.

On the sustainability issue, he said: “I believe – and want – farmers to be part of the solution rather than being targeted as part of the problem.”

Part of that solution, the Taoiseach claimed, is forestry.

“Over the next 20 years we will plant 440 million trees. It’s doable if all landowners plant at least some on their land and that includes the state. As a start, I would like to see every large landowner plant at least one hectare of native broad leaf trees and be paid to do so.”

He also mentioned micro-generated energy on farms, for farmers’ own use and for selling it into the national grid.