ICSA calls for trailing shoe option to meet BEAM target

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) is proposing a compromise to the problem of the 5% Beef Emergency Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme stocking rate reduction.

Beef chairman Edmund Graham said: “ICSA is asking the minister to negotiate an option for carbon reduction involving trailing shoe and/or protected urea as an option for those who cannot meet the 5% reduction in organic nitrogen.

This would avoid the appalling vista of 8,000 hard pressed farmers being asked to return up to 100% of the BEAM money already received which in certain cases is a €10,000 penalty.

“The reality is that not only are farmers struggling with the complexity of this requirement but neither Teagasc nor the department have the tools to advise farmers of where they stand in a timely and accurate fashion,” Graham added.

The ICSA has said that the option to allow farmers who can’t meet the 5% requirement to use trailing shoe and protected urea as an alternative is “win-win” as it delivers carbon mitigation and is in line with the national strategy to deliver carbon reduction in Irish agriculture.

BEAM payback

Approximately 18,000 farmer participants in the BEAM scheme have yet to meet the 5% reduction in organic nitrogen requirement according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Of the 32,444 farmers to receive €78 million in payments under the scheme, just 14,072 (43%) are currently meeting the requirement.

The remaining farmers have until June 30, 2021, to make the necessary reductions of 5% of livestock manure nitrogen, compared to the reference period of July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019 – or face a clawback of payments, as things stand.

This would amount to more than €40 million if figures remain as they are, come July.