Thursday, 21 November 2019

Questions (182)

Pat Deering

Question:

182. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the funding beef farm enterprises will exclusively receive in each scheme in 2019 both pillar one and two and schemes outside the RDP; the amount this funding equates to per animal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48399/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is currently being compiled and will be forwarded to him as soon as it is available.

The Irish Government has provided significant financial support to the beef sector over the past number of years through national funding and the rural development programme.

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) provides Irish beef farmers with up to €300 million in funding over the current Rural Development Programme (RDP) and provides a high degree of important performance data to beef farmers to drive efficiency through facilitating better decision making.

My Department has rolled out a range of other schemes from which beef farmers benefit, as part of the €4 billion RDP including GLAS, ANCs and Knowledge Transfer Groups. Suckler farmers also benefit, of course, from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening payments under CAP Pillar I.

In 2019, a further €20 million of exchequer funding was made available through the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme, to encourage farmers to measure the weaning efficiency of their suckler cows.

And, of course, the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) has provided temporary exceptional adjustment aid to farmers in the beef sector in Ireland subject to the conditions set out in EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1132.

BEAM is funded by a combination of EU aid and Exchequer support, provided in light of the difficult circumstances that Irish beef farmers have been facing as a result of the market volatility and uncertainty. Over 34,500 farmers had applied for BEAM at its closing date of 20 September, representing potential commitments of almost €78 million.

In recognition of the important income support role played by the ANC scheme, the total allocation for the scheme has been increased by €48m over the last two budgets (€25m in Budget 2018 and €23m in Budget 2019). In both 2018 and 2019, payment rates in the scheme were increased, with a targeting of increases corresponding to the different level of constraint in the different categories of land in the scheme.

In Budget 2020, I have provided almost €85 million in targeted schemes to support sustainable beef farming. This includes almost €45 million for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), and a further €40 million for targeted supports. I intend to consult with stakeholders as to the use of these funds.

In addition, in the event of a No-Deal Brexit, my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform confirmed in Budget 2020 that a Brexit contingency fund of €650 million will be available to support our most vulnerable sectors, to be activated in tranches as the full impacts emerge. €110 million will be made available through my Department in the first tranche, of which €85 million will be provided in immediate supports for beef farmers. This will, of course, be supplemented by any exceptional aid provided from the EU under the CMO regulation.