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Agriculture Schemes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 13 July 2021

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Questions (603)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

603. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if concerns have been raised with him in relation to difficulties farmers are experiencing in reducing their herd to comply with the BEAM scheme; if a further extension into 2022 will be considered given the limitations Covid-19 has caused for farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37269/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The objective of the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) was to provide 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. 

Just over 33,000 participants joined the scheme and over €77 million was paid to them in 2019.   In joining the scheme, these participants gave a commitment to reduce the production of bovine livestock manure nitrogen on their holding by 5% for the period 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021 as compared with the reference period of 1st July 2018 to 30th June 2019 as recorded on the Department's AIM system.  

In light of the difficulties some farmers were experiencing in meeting this reduction arising from COVID-19 Government Public Health restrictions, I sought and received agreement to an alternative reduction period for those who required it. In that context, BEAM participants were able to select the alternative reduction period of 1st January 2021 to 31st December 2021 over which to meet their 5% reduction. 

This facility opened on 19th March 2021 and remained open until  21st June 2021 and some 16,000 BEAM participants opted for the deferred reduction period. Farmers who opted to defer but who find that they have met the 5% reduction requirement by 30th June 2021 will be advised in writing that they are being removed from the deferred reduction period of 1st January - 31st December 2021 as they have already met their BEAM scheme requirements.  The Department  will be writing to them in August 2021 when  the final bovine figures up to the 30th June 2021 are available. There are no plans to extend the reduction period into 2022 as I feel the second reference period gave farmers a good opportunity to comply with the scheme.

Farmers who have experienced restriction(s) due to an outbreak of TB on their holding during the reduction period, have had their 5% bovine nitrates reduction requirement reduced in line with the length of their restriction(s). Any BEAM participant who is currently still in a TB restriction will see their 5% bovine nitrates reduction requirement reduce over the duration of that restriction. Letters explaining this process issued in recent weeks to some 2,000 BEAM participants who fell into this category and, as new restrictions are registered, further letters will issue to BEAM participants concerned.

The Department continues to provide a monthly update to all BEAM participants with the bovine figures up to 31st May 2021 available on Agfood.ie. The monthly letter containing these bovine numbers has issued to BEAM participants in recent weeks and a letter detailing the bovine figures on participant holdings up to 31st May will issue in mid-July.

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