A number of options on how to pay the €100m Brexit beef fund were floated and discussed by farmers at a recent Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) meeting
Held in Athlone on Thursday 13 June, ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch presented farmers with figures on what the resulting payment would be if the fund was divided in a certain way.
If it went on the total cattle kill from October to April, farmers would receive €92/head for each of the 1.1m animals slaughtered.
If the kill was restricted to just prime cattle (heifers, steers and bulls under 24 months), the total payment would rise to €121/head across 825,000 cattle.
Punch explained it would be possible to exclude some payments to cattle from factory feedlots, accounting for approximately 8% to 10% of the kill. In this case, payments would rise to €131/head.
He suggested a payment limit to a maximum of 200 cattle to ensure funds were spread more evenly.
Another idea floated at committee level was that cattle should have been resident on a farm for at least 60 days before being eligible for payment.
Another possible payment option raised was on a pro-rata basis. Punch said this would be more complicated, but possibly fairer.
It would require farmers to apply and submit all relevant sales dockets. Farmers would then receive 8% of an animal’s total value.
One farmer asked what sucklers were going to get. Punch said if every suckler cow that calved (903,175) got €50/head, then slaughtered prime cattle could receive a payment of €72/head.
Several farmers said while suckler farmers had suffered losses, it was more important to get money to beef finishers.
Concerns were raised that the number of farmers finishing cattle this coming winter would be significantly reduced and this would decimate autumn weanling sales.
Another option raised was the possibility of a flat payment per farm. This would work out in the region of €1,200/farm.
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