The ICSA has set out its position on the distribution of the €50m beef finisher support package.
The farm group’s beef chair, Edmund Graham, said that its priority is to see the entirety of the fund allocated “appropriately and fairly”.
The €50 million fund, he said, should be divided equally among all eligible animals for which an application has been submitted.
“The scheme should not operate on the basis of a fixed amount per head because that would run the risk of unused funds reverting to the exchequer.”
Continuing Mr Graham said, “It is important to note that €50 million is insufficient to cover the losses incurred by beef finishers and that ICSA believes that weanling and store producers plus sheep farmers have also been impacted by Covid-19.”
“However, for the purposes of this fund, strict eligibility criteria should apply.”
The ICSA believes the fund should be allocated on the basis of cattle sold in the period December 2019 – June 10, 2020.
“This timeframe orientates the compensation towards higher cost winter finishers who would have anticipated a better market had Covid-19 not arisen.”
The farm organisation proposes the following animals would be eligible:
- Only stock over 12 months of age;
- All bulls, heifers and steers sold to slaughtering plants in Ireland;
- Suckler cows sold to slaughtering plants in Ireland;
- Finished animals sold in a livestock mart and slaughtered within 30 days of the mart sale;
- Finished animals sold for live export to Northern Ireland, Algeria and Libya.
Cattle sold in marts
“In the case of animals sold in the mart, the farmer who sold the animal in the mart would be eligible for the payment provided the animal was slaughtered within 30 days of the mart sale and provided the farmer who sold the animal in the mart owned the animal for at least 70 days prior to the mart sale.”
“Similarly, only farmers who owned an animal for at least 70 days would be eligible for payment on animals live exported for slaughter.”
Capped at 200 head
It is also proposing that the maximum number of animals eligible per farmer should be capped at 200 head and that livestock owned by meat factories or produced from feedlots owned by meat factories should be ineligible.
“To ensure these funds reach those it was intended for ICSA is also proposing that dairy cows be excluded.” the beef chair concluded.