Irish beef producers in line for £93 a head in special aid

Irish beef producers will be able to apply on Monday (19 August) for a share of the €100m (£93m) exceptional aid package – sanctioned by the European Union to compensate for depressed market prices related to Brexit.

The Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (Beam) will be funded equally by Brussels and national taxpayers, and will stay open for applications until 8 September.

See also: NI farmers must act quickly to secure environmental payments

Agriculture minister Michael Creed said: “The prolonged period of depressed prices and ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit has led to a difficult period of market disturbance.

“The Beam, coupled with the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot introduced earlier this year, provides an injection of up to €120m (£112m) in aid for the beef sector in 2019.”

Scheme details

Aid will be paid on adult cattle slaughtered between 24 September 2018 and 12 May 2019, at a rate of €100/head (£93/head), subject to a maximum of 100 finished animals per herd.

Another €40/head (£37/head) will also be paid on suckler cows that calved in 2018, subject to a maximum of 40 sucklers per herd.

To meet other requirements set out by the EU Commission, participants must also be a member of, or commit to joining, the Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme, or an official agri-environment scheme.

They will also need to reduce their production of manure nitrogen by 5% between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021, compared with a reference period of 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019.

‘Use it up’

The Irish Farmers Association urged its members to apply for the aid quickly.

“The IFA campaigned very hard to secure this funding,” said national livestock chairman Angus Woods. “All of the money must be drawn down and paid out to farmers as soon as possible.”

Based on data presented by the department of agriculture, more than 37,000 beef finishers and 55,000 suckler farmers are eligible.

Dairy herds are not eligible for support on any beef animals, unless they have fewer than 40 dairy cows, and neither are animals controlled by slaughtering establishments or dealer/agents.

In the event that Beam is oversubscribed, payment rates may be scaled back.