The €50 million Beef Exceptional Aid package is targeted towards beef finishers in recognition of the fact that they have borne the most immediate and severe economic impact arising from the market disturbance arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Barry Cowen who responded to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin’s John Brady in recent days.
“Supporting finishers will have a positive impact on suckling and store buying enterprises, as it will help to maintain the market into which these operators sell, primarily in the autumn.” Cowen said.
“In terms of supports specifically for suckler farmers, in addition to the €300 million Beef Data and Genomics Programme, which is the core Rural Development Programme support targeted at suckler farmers, and other supports such as the Areas of Natural Constraint scheme which is very significant to suckler farm incomes, the 2020 Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme - Sucklers (BEEP-S) is targeted specifically at suckler farmers and aims to enhance the operational, economic and environmental efficiency of suckler enterprises.”
“My Department, having consulted with farming stakeholders, is currently working out the detailed terms and conditions for the scheme, which will be published in due course.”
He said the economic rationale, which underpins the scheme will be published in due course, in the notification to the EU Commission for inclusion of the measure under the COVID temporary state aid framework.
Number of beef finishers
Brady also asked the Minister to confirm the number of 78,000 of beef farmers that are finishers.
In response, Cowen said: “In 2019, approximately 57,500 farmers sold one or more finished bovine animals for slaughter.”