Time to revisit the stocking reduction requirement in BEAM – INHFA

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers (INHFA) are calling on Minister Creed to remove the 5% production reduction conditionality in the BEAM scheme. The scheme which was introduced last Autumn to assist farmers impacted by the market disturbance associated with Brexit had a low uptake by many suckler farmers with the reduction requirement seen as a major contributor to this low uptake.

In discussing the need to revisit this element of the scheme INHFA President Colm O’Donnell stated “how it could distort the market and destabilise prices as the production reduction coincides with the removal of Covid-19 restrictions on our cattle markets.”

There is he continued “a real concern that farmers will be forced to choose between selling cattle into an already depressed market in order to hold their payment or hold onto stock and forfeit the payment.” This decision he added “will be decided by simple economics but as things now appear I wouldn’t bet against farmers holding onto stock and forfeiting the payment.”
The INHFA leader pointed out how this possibility could be quite embarrassing and damaging to our Minister and Department and jeopardise future funding opportunities.

When all of this is considered, it is he stated “vital that the Minister avails of the flexibilities allowed by the EU Commissioner for Agriculture in relation to Pillar 2 Schemes and removes the production reduction requirement.”

O’Donnell concluded by addressing the issue of the 200 farmers who applied for a stocking reduction derogation in BEAM last year. These farmers he stated “have not yet being paid nor informed if the DAFM have accepted their claim where a reduction in stock numbers would impact on compliance with existing Pillar 2 schemes such as the Commonage Management Plans in GLAS.”