Taskforce members and department ‘continue to engage’

The chairperson of the Beef Market Taskforce is still in talks with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and taskforce members on reconvening the entity.

Though there has been no signal from the department as yet over when the taskforce might be able to reconvene, the department said in a statement that its officials and taskforce chairperson Michael Dowling “continue to engage proactively with taskforce members with a view to enabling its important work to progress”.

The taskforce was originally supposed to meet on October 14 last; however, the meeting that day was cancelled following a protest at the headquarters of the department, were the meeting was supposed to take place. It has not been recalled since.

The department described the taskforce as “the most viable platform for strategic engagement with key stakeholders”.

The department also confirmed that a total of €2.06 million has been paid out so far under the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme – approximately 10% of its total allocated funding.

This sum has been paid to 3,134 farmer applicants who have submitted weight data on pairs of cows and unweaned calves. The scheme pays €40 per pairing.

Earlier today, Friday, November 1, Minister Michael Creed announced that the closing date for the scheme would be extended by one week.

Originally, farmers had until today to take weight measurements, which were to be submitted to the Irish Cattle Breeders Federation (ICBF) by November 8.

Under the extension, these dates have been extended to November 8 and November 15 respectively.

Commenting, the minister said he was “confident that many thousands more beef farmers can comply with the conditions in time to qualify for payment by the end of December”.