The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. has welcomed today’s decision by the European Commission to allow Ireland the flexibility to set a new reduction period under the Beef Emergency Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme.
Minister McConalogue recently penned a letter to the Commission seeking flexibility to offer farmers the choice of changing the reduction year from the existing period of July 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2021 to a new period of January 1st, 2021 to December 31st, 2021.
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 ending 30 June.
Beam scheme flexibility
Commenting on the communication from the Commission, Minister McConalogue said, “I welcome the decision by the European Commission to allow Ireland to amend the reduction period under the BEAM scheme for those who require it.”
“As the European Commission is a significant funder of BEAM, it was critical that they were consulted on Ireland’s proposed change.”
“This was a key priority of mine since taking office as I understood the challenge some farmers had in meeting the 5% nitrogen reduction element of BEAM. The option of a new reduction period now gives those farmers who want it a second opportunity to meet the nitrogen reduction requirement of the scheme.”
Monthly updates and advice to farmers
He added, “Now that this flexibility has been secured, I will be intensifying our engagement with farm organisations and agricultural consultants to ensure their respective members and clients are fully informed of the requirements of the scheme and the new reduction period.
His said his department will be writing to all of the scheme participants shortly giving updated nitrogen figures to clearly inform them of what they need to do meet the requirements of the scheme. Also, he said will be giving advice on how and when they can opt to change the reduction year.
“I was extremely concerned about the outcome facing many farmers under the current reduction period. The Department will be sending out further monthly updates and advice to help them make informed decisions concerning the scheme,” Minister McConalogue said.