A total of 8,600 farmers in the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) face a full clawback of their payments under the scheme as they are on track to miss the 4% minimum reduction requirement, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has revealed.

The original scheme requirement was to reduce the amount of bovine nitrogen produced on the holding by 5% between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.

However, over 16,000 farmers applied to defer meeting the condition to give them more time to meet the requirement. Of this number 10,700 hadn’t already met the conditions and deferred to the second deferment period of 1 January to 31 December 2021.

In response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Matt Carthy, Minister McConalogue said that out of these 10,700 farmers, 8,600 are predicted to miss the minimum 4% reduction and therefore face full repayment of their BEAM entitlements.

He said a further 1,700 farmers are on track to meet the 5% bovine nitrates reduction, with a further 300 farmers on course to deliver a nitrates reduction of between 4% and 5%.


The Minister also said that out of the 8,600 farmers who face penalties, 7,400 of the herds had actually increased nitrates over the reduction period.

The Minister also told the Dáil that the average payment for those who opted to defer is just less than €2,500.

The scheme was introduced in 2019 in recognition of the losses experienced by beef farmers as a result of Brexit.