Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Ceisteanna (31)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

31. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the details of the beef environmental efficiency pilot; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5713/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I launched the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot on 30 January. The launch was covered in the agriculture media. Applications for participation in the pilot will be accepted from 4th to 22nd of February.

The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP ) is a targeted support for suckler farmers and is specifically aimed at further improving the economic and environmental efficiency of beef production. This is done by measuring the weaning efficiency of suckler cows. Building on the success of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, the data collected will also be a valuable addition to Ireland's already impressive cattle breeding database.

The Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot was announced in Budget 2019 as part of the €78m Brexit package for the agri-food industry. As well as clear environmental and climate benefits, the BEEP will provide farm gate investment at a time of market volatility and uncertainty relating to Brexit. I am very conscious that 2018 was a very difficult year for beef farmers, in terms of weather, fodder issues and market volatility. This is the sector most exposed to Brexit, given its reliance on the UK market. The BEEP is designed to provide an injection of investment at a critical time for farmers navigating the challenges ahead, while delivering in real terms on our climate objectives.

The €20 million funding available will allow for payment up to a maximum of €40 per calf, based on costs incurred and income foregone. If the scheme is oversubscribed a linear cut may be applied.

It is a pilot scheme for 2019 only, Exchequer funded and operated under State Aid de minimis provisions.

The pilot has been designed to be as straightforward as possible and to ensure that the majority of the payment can be retained by the farmer.

Application will be open to all beef suckler herdowners. The terms and conditions and information on the process and application procedure are available on my Department’s website:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/beep/

or from the Beef Schemes section of my Department.