Farmers voting with their feet over Government's support package
A beef support package announced to much fanfare by the Government before the local and European elections has been massively under-subscribed.
With just 28pc of eligible farmers signing up for the scheme to date, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has been forced to extend the deadline for applications.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan announced the €50m package for beef farmers, which was swiftly matched by the Government as it faced huge pressure from the farm lobby prior to the election.
However, it has emerged that just 20,000 farmers have submitted their applications - despite more than 70,000 farmers potentially being eligible.
Mr Creed said yesterday that he had decided to extend the deadline to facilitate applications from as many of the remainder as possible.
Under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (Beam), aid is paid on adult cattle at a rate of €100 per animal, subject to a maximum of 100 finished animals per herd.
Aid will also be paid on suckler cows that calved in 2018, at a rate of €40 per animal subject to a maximum of 40 sucklers per herd.
However, concerns had been raised that conditions in applying were restrictive and may limit the take up of the scheme.
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on agriculture Charlie McConalogue said a requirement on participating farmers to reduce stocking rates by 5pc between July 2020 and June 2021 is unnecessary, and should have been resisted by the Government at European level.
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