The closing date for farmers to apply for a new reference period under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) is Monday 21 June 2021.
Farmers who applied for the scheme in 2019 were originally required to deliver a 5% reduction in their total bovine nitrates from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.
Due to the number of farmers at risk of missing the 5% target, a new reference period was announced.
Farmers who apply for the new reference period will be provided with the option to meet the 5% reduction from the period 1 January to 31 December 2021.
IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said all farmers in the scheme should apply for the extension to maintain maximum flexibility in meeting the scheme conditions.
Golden said there was no down side to applying for the new reference period.
“Most importantly, farmers who apply for the extension but meet the requirements by the end of June will not be affected and can accept their original reduction period and will be deemed by the Department to have met their obligations in the scheme,” Golden said.
He urged farmers to use the flexibility to their advantage by applying before the deadline of next Monday.
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) Beef chair Edmund Graham has said farmers should give serious consideration to moving to the second BEAM reference period.
“Failure to meet the 5% target in the current reference period will result in severe penalties. Those who do not reach a 4% reduction will receive a 100% penalty, with a sliding scale of penalties applicable to those who are within the 4-5% margin,” Graham said.
“It is up to farmers to calculate their own figures but if those figures do not match the Department’s figures come August unforeseen penalties could accrue.
Graham said any reductions made before 1 January 2021 would not count towards the second reference period which could result in farmers going beyond the 5% mark.