The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary T.D., has announced details of the Beef Finishers Payment (BFP), an Exchequer funded scheme of €50 million to 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.”
Minister Calleary commented “This targeted support for farmers who finished cattle during the period from 1 February to 12 June 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-Sucklers scheme.
Minister Calleary noted that though the scheme will be funded by the Irish exchequer, details of the scheme have been notified to the European Commission in accordance with the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework.
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 1 February to 12 June 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 over subscription, 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 19 August 2020 and the closing date will be 9 September 2020. Detail of the measure including terms and conditions and how to apply will be made available in due course at www.agriculture.gov.ie/ farmerschemesandpayments/BFP
Applications will be made online through the agfood.ie portal.