The ICSA has called on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to individually assess the 1,000 BEAM participants that received associated herd letters.
Its beef chair, Edmund Graham, has urged the DAFM to treat such farmers “fairly”. That’s Farming contacted the DAFM for a statement last week, following correspondence from concerned readers. You can find the statement we received here.
Associated herd letters
Graham said: “It is unfair to throw a curveball in at the eleventh hour, making it virtually impossible for farmers to rectify their stocking rates with less than a month to go.”
“One thousand farmers have got letters and it is likely that almost half of them are potentially facing a BEAM penalty. Some of these farmers – who thought they were on target to meet the requirements of the scheme – have now been left in an impossible situation,” he said.
According to the Department of Agriculture where a BEAM farmer has, during the period concerned, had one or more associated herd numbers linked to their BEAM application herd number on the Department’s corporate customer system (CSS), these herd numbers are deemed to be part of the participant’s holding.
As such, they must be included in the nitrates figures for the holding and show a combined reduction of 5%.
“If this has been the case, why then have nitrates figures not been supplied all along for associated herds?”
“At least then farmers would have been in possession of all the relevant information and been able to act accordingly.”
Graham said the BEAM scheme has proved difficult for many to navigate. “The lack of timely and accurate figures throughout the scheme has been very problematic.”
“However, to access this badly needed compensation, farmers have done their utmost to see the scheme through, and curveballs like this on the home stretch are inexcusable.”
“I am urging Minister McConalogue and his Department officials to look carefully at each case before they deny payment to any farmer,” Graham concluded.