The €40m Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme - Suckler (BEEP-S) will open for farmer applications in the coming weeks, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.
It will be the third iteration of the scheme targeted at the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves.
Last year’s version also contained elements to improve the welfare of the cow at weaning and control liver fluke.
Speaking to farmers at the Donegal IFA AGM, the minister said the money showed his commitment to the beef and suckler sector.
Autumn-calving suckler farmers with calves on the ground since 2020 will be allowed to join the scheme.
“I know there’s a number of farmers who calved down in the autumn who expressed concerns about whether BEEP-S would be open to them,” the minister said.
He advised these farmers to weigh calves coming towards their weaning date and make a note of the weights and the date. Farmers will be permitted to enter these when the scheme opens.
On the wider beef sector, the minister acknowledged the frustration among farmers at recent price cuts and issues around transparency in the chain.
“I am determined to bring more transparency into the food supply chain,” he said.
The Government plans to bring in legislation for a national food ombudsman to monitor and assess the market.
Also at the meeting, IFA president Tim Cullinan stressed that the food ombudsman would need strong legislative backing to investigate where margins in the beef sector were going.
The IFA has requested that Beef Market Taskforce chair Michael Dowling recall the forum to discuss the fall in prices.
Cullinan said transparency reports commissioned by the taskforce had not delivered the required information. Grant Thorton has been hired to complete three reports on the beef sector at a cost of almost €100,000.