IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden has called on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to announce the details of the BEEP-s replacement scheme for suckler farmers.
In last year’s Budget, the Minister committed to a €90/cow scheme to run alongside the new SCEP, but farmers have heard nothing on this scheme since.
The Minister must now honour that and ensure the new scheme provides an additional €90/cow for all cows that farmers apply on.
“The scheme must be easy to implement on farm with compliance costs kept to a minimum to ensure the supports remain with suckler farmers,” he said.
“The needs of suckler farmers for meaningful direct supports is evident from the level of applications to the SCEP. The BEEP-s replacement scheme is an integral part of these supports to address the continual decline in suckler cow numbers,” he said.
The IFA Livestock Chairman has urged the Minister for Agriculture to come forward with the details of the scheme to provide clarity for suckler farmers on the supports available to them for this year and the actions they will be required to carry out on farm.
Commenting on the strong interest shown by suckler farmers in the SCEP, Brendan Golden said over 20,000 farmers applied, accounting for almost 500,000 suckler cows.
He said the number of cows is an increase from the previous scheme and underlines farmers’ commitment to the sector.
It also shows the critical importance of meaningful direct supports to ensure our suckler herd, which is the foundation of our €2.5bn beef sector, is maintained.
“Our entire beef sector and the associated jobs are built on the reputation and production systems on suckler farms and these practices are the key selling point used for Irish beef throughout the world,” he said.
However, he said suckler cow numbers have been in continual decline for over a decade and this must be stopped.
Brendan Golden said the Minister assured farmers at the mart meetings he held on CAP that all farmers who apply to the SCEP scheme would be paid in full on all cows. This must be honoured and built on with the BEEP-s replacement scheme.