Suckler farmers will get a slice of €100m beef bailout fund
The country's 65,000 suckler farmers will share in the €100m Brexit aid package for the beef sector, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has confirmed.
Minister Creed also reiterated that the aid package will be targeted solely at farmers rather than factory-controlled feedlots.
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Speaking at the recent AGM of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA), the minister insisted that the support measure will be directed at those directly impacted by the beef price collapse.
"I do believe suckler farmers will be included," Minister Creed told the gathering. "And I do not believe that this is a scheme for anybody other than farmers," he added.
Minister Creed said the need for a support package had been accepted in Brussels.
"There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance," he said.
Minister Creed repeated that he will engage with the farm organisations on the allocation of the monies once the terms and conditions for the package were fully finalised. Draft details of the beef fund from the EU Commission state the package must include measures aimed at reducing production or restructuring the beef and veal sector, along with at least one of three other conditions.
These include: the implementation of quality schemes in the beef and veal sector, or projects which promote quality and value added measures; boosting market diversification and improving the farmers' environmental, climate and economic sustainability.
IFA president, Joe Healy, called on Minister Creed to reject all conditionality that does not relate to the actual income losses experienced by beef and suckler farmers.
He said the draft regulation reflects the preliminary views of the Commission services, it has been sent to Member States for comment and it is not yet the official position of the Commission.
The ICSA's Edmund Graham said the current conditionality regarding the aid package was too "complex and burdensome".
He questioned the time-frame for paying farmers, pointing out that the deadline of May 31, 2020 was "far too late". The ICSA is holding a public meeting on the aid package at the Athlone Springs Hotel this Thursday evening.
But support scheme needs to come with no conditions attached, warns IFA
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