IFA President Tim Cullinan said resolving the 5% issue in the BEAM Scheme will require more than the additional six months extension that has been announced.
He said the full extent of the latitude given by the EU Commission must be outlined by the Minister for Agriculture, and fully availed of.
“It appears the EU Commission is willing to give more latitude than just the six months. IFA has sought a meeting with the Minister to establish the full scope of their response and to ensure it’s applied to the scheme,” he said.
IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said this scheme is based on the losses farmers experienced from the devaluation in sterling as a result of the Brexit vote. Those losses are as real today as they were between September 2018 and May 2019. These monies must be protected and a key issue is the lack of clear and concise information for farmers in monitoring their compliance levels.
“The Department of Agriculture must provide farmers with detailed monthly updates of the actual position on their farm in meeting the target. IFA has consistently identified this information deficit as a critical issue for farmers in complying with the scheme. Without this, key management decisions are being taken in the dark and time extensions alone will not resolve this,” he said.
Brendan Golden said farmers who have a TB breakdown or any other exceptional event on their farm must have this treated as Force Majeure and the 5% requirement removed.
He said a speedy finalisation of this issue is vital to allow farmers plan the year ahead and avoid any market disruption. This resolution must take full advantage of the autonomy now given to the Minister by the Commission.