IFA President Joe Healy said the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed needs to extend the closing date for the €100m BEAM scheme until after the Ploughing Championships next week, to allow farmers make their application on the Department of Agriculture stand at the Ploughing.
“There has been a strong level of applications this week, which proves that extending the original closing date was the correct decision,” he said.
“There is a unique opportunity at the Ploughing Championships next week to get farmers to apply for the scheme when they visit the Department of Agriculture stand. The Minister must extend the closing date and provide this opportunity to farmers.”
The Minister cannot let a situation develop where any of this money is left behind, considering the severe income crisis in the livestock sector.
IFA has also called on the Minister to remove the restrictive conditions preventing farmers from applying. “The Minister needs to reassess the restrictions, including the 5% reduction in organic Nitrogen; the 100 head and 40 head suckler limits; restriction on dairy farmers with a beef enterprise; partnerships and farmers who exported finished cattle to Northern Ireland”.
Angus Woods, IFA’s National Livestock Chairman, said IFA has put this case directly to the Minister and the EU Commission. “It is incredible that both the Department of Agriculture and the EU Commission have imposed unnecessary restrictions on the scheme, which are preventing farmers for applying.”
Over 70,000 farmers eligible to apply for the payment of €100 per finished animal and €40 per suckler cow.
Angus Woods said any farmers who sold finished cattle in the marts also needed to make an application without delay. These farmers are eligible for payment and if they are encountering any difficulty, they should seek help or revert to the appeal process on the online application, but make sure to lodge an application.