INHFA calls for fundamental change to new BEAM scheme.

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association are calling on Minister Creed for the removal of the 5% reduction requirement as a condition for entry into the scheme. The call follows a meeting of the organisations beef committee where those present expressed major miss-giving’s with regard to the conditionality around the scheme.

National President Colm O’Donnell outlined how Ireland had the option to choose between a re-structuring and a production reduction and for whatever reason choose the latter. This stated O’Donnell “was a major issue for members of our beef committee who expressed concern that this could undermine future supports for the suckler sector.”

Clearly, he continued “the concern expressed to us with regard to the reduction requirement is a concern felt by many farmers as reflected in the poor uptake by farmers which has necessitated an extension to the schemes closing date. While we anticipate these numbers will increase as a result of the promotion by the Department of Agriculture and other state bodies, farmers and in particular our suckler farmers have sent a message that should not be ignored.”

This scheme added O’Donnell “was introduced as a temporary support measure for farmers resulting from losses incurred due to the uncertainty created around Brexit. To use this as an opportunity to drive another agenda is an issue that has angered farmers especially those involved in extensive farming practices who now stand to lose the most.”

The INHFA President concluded by demanding the removal of the production reduction to be replaced by a re-structuring of the beef sector along the lines outlined in the INHFA 10 point plan. He also encouraged any farmer joining the new BEAM to be fully aware of what the short term and long term implications may be for their farming system and encouraged farm advisors to advise on this basis.