ICSA beef chair, Edmund Graham, has called on Minister Charlie McConalogue to renew the Beef Finisher Payment for 2021. He believes beef finishers need further financial support for losses incurred on cattle sold from last November to at least the end of April 2021.
“Further financial aid for beef finishers is essential to ensure as many farmers as possible can emerge from this prolonged Covid crisis,” he commented.
“While prices have picked up in recent weeks, these increases in no way make up for the months of savage price cuts beef farmers had to endure in advance of that,” he added.
“Farmers have also had to contend with massive increases in the costs of inputs. It all adds up to beef finishers moving further and further away from achieving anywhere near the actual cost of production.”
Mr Graham said the Beef Finisher Payment worked well last year and added that the DAFM could be replicate the scheme with relative ease this year.
“The scheme did what it was supposed to do, and bureaucracy was kept to a minimum. Crucially, there was no destocking clause and factory owned animals were not eligible.”
“The scheme helped the winter finishers who needed it most and also provided an indirect boost to suckler farmers when it came to the autumn sales. It is clear the same support must be provided for this year.”
“The EU’s Covid recovery fund is there to facilitate such a scheme, but we need to see action from our department officials on accessing these funds and delivering these supports to the farmers who need them most,” he concluded.
BEAM letters issued in recent days ‘contained an error’
Meanwhile, in other beef-related news, 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.