All prime cattle should be included in the BEAM scheme, including those from the dairy herd, the IFA has said.

Speaking following the meeting of the the organisation's council yesterday, IFA president Joe Healy said it is wrong-headed and ill-judged that Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed should seek to exclude one farming sector.

The way the minister has designed the scheme, it is certain to result in the €100m not being fully spent. This is wrong

“It sets a dangerous precedent and it’s a very divisive move by the minister. The view of the council is that the minister has approached this in a very dogmatic way, without any genuine consultation,” Healy said.

Conditions in the draft scheme will keep a lot of animals out, the IFA says.

“The way the minister has designed the scheme, it is certain to result in the €100m not being fully spent. This is wrong and Minister Creed must ensure the scheme is set up in a way that every cent of the €100m is paid to farmers,” said Healy.

“If the scheme was based on realistic assumptions, the minister could include all prime cattle from the dairy herd and the estimated cost of the extra animals could be covered without any reduction in the proposed payment rates. The minister must also exclude all factory feedlots.”

€100m BEAM scheme

The new €100m aid package was discussed with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Junior Minister for Finance Michael D’Arcy at the opening of the M11 Gorey to Enniscorthy motorway on Thursday. D’Arcy told the Irish Farmers Journal that he sees no need allow dairy-beef producers access to the aid monies.

“I’m a dairy farmer, I’m speaking against myself when I say this,” D’Arcy said. “The scheme [BEAM] is for beef. I’m satisfied that those who have an alternative enterprise within their farm [do not need it]. I think we should be focusing primarily on beef, the suckler herd.”

He added that Ireland will not look for additional funding beyond the €100m until analysis work is carried out to assess where it would be needed most.

“We won’t be looking for any additional funding beyond the €100m until we do the analysis. I want to be sure that the people that are most affected get the benefit of the €100m. I don’t want to see others within agriculture getting an opportunity to claim some of that.”

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