I am acutely aware of the ongoing market disturbance related to Covid-19 in the Irish beef sector and the significant consequences for beef farmers and for the rural economy as a whole. Farmers with finished animals have suffered a dual impact over recent months: reduced prices and a reduced kill. The €50m in supports for the beef sector which I announced on 12 June is an emergency response to a dramatic economic shock, to mitigate the worst Covid-19 economic impacts on these farm enterprises. Beef farming is a significant economic contributor to local rural economies, and thus is more important than ever in sustaining these communities as we work towards economic recovery.
This measure is part of my ongoing efforts to ensure that all the appropriate support measures are put in place at national and EU level for our farming communities. I urge all actors in the supply chain to recognise their interdependence and work collaboratively towards our shared objective –a beef sector which is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.
The funding announced on 12th June will provide for a support scheme for beef finishing farms which have been severely impacted by the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Details of the scheme are currently being worked out, following stakeholder consultation. The scheme must also submitted to the EU for state aid approval under the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework.