The new €50m beef fund should not operate on a fixed amount of money per head, dairy stock should be excluded and certain animals sold through marts should be eligible, according to the ICSA.
ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has said the priority for the association is to see the fund allocated appropriately and fairly.
“The €50m should be divided equally among all eligible animals for which an application has been submitted.
“The scheme should not operate on the basis of a fixed amount per head because that would run the risk of unused funds reverting to the Exchequer,” he said.
Graham said the fund should be allocated on the basis of cattle sold in the period December 2019 to 10 June, 2020.
“This time frame orientates the compensation towards higher-cost winter finishers who would have anticipated a better market had COVID-19 not arisen,” he said.
ICSA proposes the following animals would be eligible:
In the case of animals sold in the mart, Graham said the farmer who sold the animal in the mart would be eligible for the payment provided the animal was slaughtered within 30 days of the mart sale and provided the farmer who sold the animal in the mart owned the animal for at least 70 days prior to the mart sale.
“Similarly, only farmers who owned an animal for at least 70 days would be eligible for payment on animals live exported for slaughter.
“ICSA is proposing that the maximum number of animals eligible per farmer should be capped at 200 head and that livestock owned by meat factories or produced from feedlots owned by meat factories should be ineligible. To ensure these funds reach those it was intended for, ICSA is also proposing that dairy cows be excluded,” he said.
Graham said the €50m is insufficient to cover the losses incurred by beef finishers and that ICSA believes that weanling and store producers plus sheep farmers have also been affected by COVID-19.