The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has called on Minister McConalogue to open the BEEP (3) Suckler scheme for applications to ensure that pairings of cows with calves born since the 1st of July 2020 can be included in the new scheme.
The President of the INHFA, Colm O’Donnell explained the urgency for suckler farmers in having a start date for applications, stating how “some of these calves are up to seven months of age and there is a need to get them weighed prior to weaning. In addition to this, time is also running out for farmers that choose the meal feeding option for pre and post weaning.”
In discussing the uptake of the scheme, the INHFA leader stated “how it is quite popular with suckler farmers especially when compared to the previous offerings such as BDGP and BEAM.” The success of BEEP has, he maintained, “proven how proper stakeholder consultation is a vital component in designing new schemes.” Going forward “he is hopeful that future schemes will involve similar consultation with farming organisations in what can be a win-win for both the DAFM and farmers.”
Concluding, the INHFA President focused on the issues facing farmers in BEAM and the proposed claw-back of up to €40m resulting from the production reduction clause. On this he called on Minister McConalogue “to act quickly and decisively, insisting that the only option now available is to seek a derogation from the EU Commission to give farmers an exemption on the proposed 5% reduction. The justification for this derogation can be based on the Covid-19 restrictions. These are impacting heavily on farmers’ ability to trade stock, especially those trading weanlings and store cattle.”