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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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How to select the new BEAM reference period

The facility to select the later 12-month reduction period for Beef Emergency Aid Measure (BEAM) is now available on

Farmers 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.

BEAM reference period 

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 June 30th.

The Minister stated, “Changing the BEAM reference period a key priority of mine when I came to office as I knew that a lot of farmers were in danger of missing the initial reference period.”

“I succeeded in getting consent from the European Commission to facilitate the changing of the reference period.”

“I am now urging farmers to use this maximum flexibility to do all they can to meet the requirements of the scheme. Farmers need to take a proactive approach to avoid facing penalties.”

BEAM calculator and monthly letters

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”.

Minister McConalogue reminded farmers that the Department’s BEAM Bovine Nitrates Calculator is available on and is being updated monthly.

He encouraged participants to utilise the range of tools available, including the monthly letter to each BEAM participant outlining their individual progress to date on achieving the 5% reduction and to engage with their advisor.

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.


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