BEAM scheme penalties criticised

A review of the BEAM scheme is needed according to a local Senator after he says flaws in the system were highlighted.

The Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) was set up after tough winters in 2018 and 2019 to support farmers who suffered losses.

Senator Robbie Gallagher says the monies should have been distributed quickly but instead, it has resulted in €19 million worth of penalties.

“Due to the difficulties in meeting the conditionality targets set in BEAM, around many farmers deferred the period in which they needed to reduce the amount of bovine livestock manure nitrogen produced by 5%. The 31 December 2021 deadline for achieving this is now closing in and figures indicate that 8,300 of these farmers are set to miss the target meaning that these farmers face having to repay some or all of this exceptional aid in the new year.”

He says the penalties equate to 25% of the total funding but the scheme could now end up only paying out half of the intended €100m fund.

“This is not the desired outcome when the original objective was to deliver €100 million in badly needed aid. The Department of Agriculture should now review the BEAM scheme and find a solution that allows farmers to retain as much of this aid as possible.”