The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed that letters it issued to BEAM participants in recent days “contained an error”.
Farmers impacted by this will receive revised letters regarding their Beef Exceptional Aid Measure participation later this week.
Under the scheme, applicants commit to reduce the production of bovine livestock manure nitrogen on the holding by 5% for the period July 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2021 as compared with the period July 1st, 2018 to June 30th, 2019.
However, farmers can choose to defer the commitment.
Participants will have from Friday, March 19th until Monday, June 21st, 2021, to select the later 12-month reduction period of January 1st, 2021 to December 31st, 2021, if they so wish.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, advised farmers and advisors that the reference period of July 1st, 2018 to June 30th, 2019 remains the same and that participants must still deliver the 5% reduction amount.
The new reduction period will only apply to those farmers who opt to apply for the change.
Those farmers currently on track to meet the 5% nitrogen reduction targets can use the original reference period.
He confirmed that the department will continue to engage with farmers to inform them of their most up-to-date figures to “inform them of their situation”.
Online calculator and BEAM letters
Minister McConalogue reminded farmers that the Department’s BEAM Bovine Nitrates Calculator is available on agfood.ie and is being updated monthly.
The Minister also informed participants that should they select the option of the later reduction period (January 1st, 2021 – December 31st, 2021), they will still continue to receive monthly letters relating to their progress on achieving the 5% reduction within the existing reduction period, July 1st, 2021 – December 31st, 2021.
If after June 30th, 2021, the department identifies that participants, who selected the later reduction period, had met the 5% reduction during the existing reduction period (July 1st, 2020 – June 30th, 2021), the department will advise participants and allow them to withdraw from the later reduction period.