Details of the Beef Finishers Payment (BFP) has been announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary T.D.
The Exchequer-funded scheme of €50 million will provide income support for up to 42,000 farmers with beef finishing enterprises, who have been impacted by the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister Calleary stated: “I am fully aware of the difficulties caused by Covid-19 in the Irish beef sector and the consequences for those in beef farming and for the rural economy as a whole.”
“Farmers with finished animals suffered from both reduced prices and other restrictions in getting animals to market.”
“The closure of the food-service market in Ireland, the UK and beyond has had a dramatic impact on the industry and, in particular, those who supply it to make their living.”
'Valuable' additional income support
Calleary said this targeted support for farmers who finished cattle during the period from February 1st to June 12th, 2020 will help to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for those farmers and provide a “valuable” additional income support this year.
“Beef farming is an important economic activity, with a significant multiplier effect in local rural communities, and thus is more important than ever in sustaining these communities as we work towards economic recovery.”
This measure is targeted at farmers who finished animals and comes on top of a "significant" increase in targeted environmental and welfare supports for suckler production earlier this year, in the form of the BEEP-suckler scheme.
- An estimated 42,000 farmers will be eligible to apply for the scheme, which will be based on the number of cattle sent for slaughter in the period from February 1st to June 12th, 2020, subject to a limit of 100 animals per herd;
- Based on estimates of eligible animals, a rate in the region of €100 per animal will be payable;
- In the event of an oversubscription, the rate of payment per animal will be subject to a linear cut in order to comply with the available budget of €50 million.
- The opening date for applications will be August 19th, 2020;
- The closing date will be September 9th, 2020.
Eligible animals slaughtered:
- Slaughtered in the reference period of February 1st to June 12th, 2020;
- Aged 8 months or more when slaughtered;
- Resident on the qualifying herd for at least 30 days prior to slaughter (if not, the previous owner is eligible for payment if they are an applicant and have had the animal for over 30 days on their holding);
- Animals identified on the Department systems as presented for slaughter by or on behalf of a factory will not be eligible.
- Subject to a cap on payments in respect of 100 eligible animals per herd.
- A farmer who has presented animals for slaughter in the reference period;
- The holder of an active herd number with Herd Owner Status;
- Farming a holding in respect of which a valid Basic Payment Scheme application has been submitted in 2020 to the Department;
- Agent or dealer herd numbers are not eligible for payment;
- Conditionality: Applicant must be a member of the Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme at the time of application, or undertake to become a member of a quality scheme prior to September 30th, 2020.
How to apply
For assistance on registering for www.agfood.ie as a first step in making an online application, farmers can contact the AgFood Registration Helpdesk on 0761 064424.
They can also contact this phone number should they require assistance to register an agricultural consultant or Teagasc adviser to apply on their behalf.
Detail of the measure including terms and conditions and how to apply will be made available in due course here.
Applications will be made online through the agfood.ie portal.