Beef bailout fund to get Brussels green light this week
The proposed regulation governing the €100m Brexit beef package is expected to be cleared by EU Commission officials this week.
Informed sources told the Farming Independent that the proposed regulation is due to get the green light following a DG Agri management committee meeting.
Reported delays as a result of perceived issues around competition have been ironed out, Brussels insiders maintained.
It is expected that if the regulation is published this week, then the Department of Agriculture will seek to convene meetings with the farm organisations and other interested parties as soon as possible.
"It is in everybody's interest to move to the application phase as quickly as possible, once the broad framework has been set out by Brussels," the Farming Independent was told.
The final package will have to be cleared by the Commission, but this is not expected to cause major delays.
"This won't be a problem as long as we stay with the white lines," one official maintained.
The allocation of the €100m is certain to pose difficulties for Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, and for the farm organisations.
While beef finishers are likely to get the lion's share of the funds due to the serious income losses they incurred over the winter, suckler farmers and store cattle producers also claim that they have taken a major hit in the sales rings since last autumn.
Minister Creed has agreed with the farm organisations that payments from the €100m package will be confined to farmers, with stock from factory-controlled feedlots not qualifying for supports.
IFA president Joe Healy has said it is essential that the €100m Brexit beef package is targeted at farmers who need it most and that under no circumstances can Minister Creed allow one cent to go to factory-owned cattle or factory feedlot cattle. "It must be paid without delay and there must be no strings attached."
The IFA is hosting a series of farmer meetings on the package. These kick off tonight in the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris, Co Mayo. Seven more will be held over the next fortnight in Limerick, Tullamore, Carrickmacross, Macroom, Roscommon and Letterkenny.
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