The announcement by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue on Wednesday night regarding flexibility to set a new reduction period under the Beef Emergency Aid Measure (BEAM) is reported as generally being well received in most quarters.
The flexibility offers farmers the choice of changing the reduction year from the existing period of 1 July to 30 June 2021 to a new period of 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021.
Concerns have been raised by some farmers who are well on their way to meeting the target and have taken up the announcement incorrectly and think the reduction year will change for everyone.
This is not the case and farmers currently on track to meet the 5% reduction target can continue to do so.
There is another cohort of farmers who are not currently complying with the reduction target, but have changes planned to bring them within the limits in the coming months.
A few of these farmers have also raised concerns regarding the possibility of their reduction year being changed if they are not on target by a certain date.
This is again not the case, with the Minister’s announcement stating: “The new reduction period will only apply to those farmers who opt to apply for the change.”
The other point raising confusion is the fact the reduction year has been described in some reports mistakenly as the reference year.
It is worth stating that the reference year has not changed and there was no requests to do so.
Minister McConalogue also said his Department will be writing to all of the scheme participants shortly with updated nitrogen figures.
The Minister said this correspondence will also give advice on how and when farmers can opt to change their reduction year.