Ahead of this evening’s deadline for applications, IFA President Joe Healy said Agriculture Minister Michael Creed cannot allow one €uro of the €100m BEAM Scheme monies to be left unspent.
“It would be an absolute scandal if Minister Creed allowed bureaucracy and restrictions to prevent farmers from drawing down all of the €100m. Livestock farmers are in a desperate income crisis,” he said.
With less than €80m of the €100m applied on so far, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said Minister Creed needs to make immediate changes, remove the unnecessary restrictions around the scheme and increase the payments rates, particularly on suckler cows to ensure all of the €100m is drawn down.
Angus Woods said Minister Creed has several options open to him to allow livestock farmers draw down all the €100m.
He could extend the payment period beyond May 12th and he could increase the payment rates to suckler cows close to €80 per cow. The 5% stocking rate reduction, the exclusion of dairy farmers with beef enterprises, partnerships, cattle slaughtered in Northern Ireland, all of these unnecessary restrictions could be removed.
The deadline is 5pm this evening.