Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must ensure beef package funding is paid out to the farmers who have incurred the losses and need it most, as soon as possible, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Following the passing of the EU regulation on the €100 million Brexit beef fund in Brussels yesterday, IFA president Joe Healy said the clearance of the regulation paves the way for the Department of Agriculture to pay out the funds to farmers.

“IFA is clear that the funding must go to farmers who sold prime finished cattle since last autumn, and to suckler farmers,” Healy said.

“We have set out six principles as regards to how the funding should be allocated. This has received strong support at our eight regional meetings,” he added.

The IFA’s six principles on the €100 million Brexit beef fund are:
  1. The fund is for beef farmers and must be paid to beef farmers. It is not for factories, factory feedlots or factory-owned cattle, agents or dealers;
  2. The fund should be targeted to farmers who incurred the losses and the sectors who need it most in terms of income;
  3. The money should be targeted to farmers who sold prime finished cattle since last autumn and suckler farmers. Prime cattle are steers, heifers and young bulls;
  4. The fund must be paid out quickly and directly to farmers;
  5. Finished cattle sold in the marts must be included; and
  6. The Department of Agriculture has all the data on the Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system to enable accurate targeting of the funds.

“Minister Creed and the Department of Agriculture have to make their submission by July 31. It should be done without delay and in a manner that will simplify the payments to farmers,” Healy continued.

IFA livestock chairman Angus Woods said IFA has written to Minister Creed setting out the six principles.

The original call for funding based on IFA calculations of losses to the tune of €101 million was based on beef farmers only; there have since been calls made for suckler farmers to be included in the fund, according to the farm organisation.

The IFA has said it opposes any requirements in respect of production reduction or any other conditionality not related to the retrospective Brexit beef price losses.