To qualify for payment under the €50m beef finisher scheme, farmers must have slaughtered an animal between 1 February 2020 and 12 June 2020.
The Department of Agriculture has estimated that some 42,000 farmers will be eligible for the Beef Finishers Payment (BFP). Based on estimates of eligible animals, a payment rate in the region of €100 per animal has been set.
In the event of an oversubscription, the payment rate will be subject to a linear cut.
To qualify, animals must have been eight months or more when slaughtered and in the herd for at least 30 days prior to slaughter. If the residency period is less than 30 days, the previous keeper will be eligible for payment on that animal.
The maximum number of cattle eligible for payment per herd is 100.
Farmers must also be a member of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme at the time of application or undertake to become a member prior to 30 September 2020.
The opening date for applications will be 19 August and the closing date will be 9 September. More detailed terms and conditions will be made available by the Department in due course.
Agent or dealer herd numbers will not be eligible for payment or animals identified by the Department as presented for slaughter by or on behalf of a factory.
Announcing details of the scheme, Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary said: “I am fully aware of the difficulties caused by COVID-19 in the Irish beef sector and the consequences for those in beef farming and for the rural economy as a whole.
The closure of the food service market in Ireland, the UK and beyond has had a dramatic impact on the industry
“Farmers with finished animals suffered from both reduced prices and other restrictions in getting animals to market. The closure of the food service market in Ireland, the UK and beyond has had a dramatic impact on the industry and in particular those who supply it to make their living.”
Minister Calleary said the support would help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on beef farmers and provide valuable additional income this year.
IFA president Tim Cullinan welcomed the scheme, he said it is crucial that the money gets out to farmers as soon as possible and that the full €50m is spent. He called for a provision to increase the payment per animal if there is any underspend.
ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham gave a guarded welcome to announcement but said his organisation would be seeking clarification on the apparent exclusion of cattle exported live.