The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued over 1,000 letters to BEAM participants regarding ‘associated herds’.
That’s Farming contacted the DAFM regarding the matter after receiving queries from concerned readers.
A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine issued the following statement to the publication:
“Section 3.1 of the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) Terms and Conditions define a holding as: ‘All the production units managed by a farmer during 2018 and subsequent years and situated in the territory of the Republic of Ireland.’”
“Where a BEAM participant 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 (CCS), these herd numbers are deemed to be part of the participant’s holding.”
“As part of that holding, they must be included in the calculation of the BEAM figures, and any bovine animals registered to them during the BEAM reference period or the BEAM reduction period will be included in the nitrates figures for the holding.”
“Animals moved from the application herd number to an associated herd number will not reduce the bovine nitrates figure for the holding for the purposes of BEAM,” the spokesperson concluded.
‘Changed the goalposts for farmers’
Meanwhile, IFA livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, shed light on the matter at a Charter of Rights meeting.
“The letters issued to 1,000 farmers in the BEAM scheme referencing ‘associated herds’ have completely changed the goalposts for these farmers. This is unacceptable at this late stage in the scheme.”
Golden said that DAFM going back and readjusting the scheme figures for these farmers is “a fundamental retrospective change to the terms and conditions signed up to by participant farmers”.
“IFA called for DAFM to allow farmers to ‘opt-in’ for these readjusted figures, but they cannot enforce a compulsory change for all farmers affected,” Golden concluded.