Minister called on to open ‘BEEP 3’ without delay

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has been called on to re-open the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP) immediately for what would be a third time.

The call was made by the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) following a meeting with the minister and his officials on Wednesday (February 3).

Speaking on the matter, INHFA president Colm O’Donnell said: “During our bilateral meeting with the minister and his officials we insisted that the scheme be opened without further delay.

‘Urgency’

“The urgency in doing so is to provide certainty to suckler farmers that the funding secured by his department in the budget for 2021 allows them to participate this year,” O’Donnell said.

At this point suckler cows with calves born since July 1, 2020, are ready for weaning and pairings of cows and calves need to be weighed and meal fed pre-weaning, the president added.

This is necessary to comply with the actions within the scheme.

Offering advice to participating suckler farmers, O’Donnell said participants should:
  • Weigh your cow and calf pairings;
  • Register the results with the ICBF in a similar way to last year;
  • Introduce meal feeding pre weaning;
  • Have receipts for the meal and wean the calves.

Continuing, he stated: “BEEP-S has been very well received by suckler farmers.

“Introducing those types of measures are great examples of how the newly established Beef Market Taskforce agreement is working, and delivering on commitments entered into, for beef farmers.

Discussion

“This approach is making sure that meaningful discussion on scheme design between farmers, stakeholders, and the Department of Agriculture takes place in advance of any scheme roll-out.

“We can see the current compliance problems with the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure [BEAM] which didn’t have the backing of the farm lobby,” O’Donnell concluded.