5 FEBRUARY 2021
ICSA has welcomed clarification from the EU Commission that responsibility for the dates for the 5% BEAM reduction lies with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. This opens the way for the inclusion of an alternative deadline of 31 December for meeting the targeted 5% reduction. However, ICSA has met the Department again this week to press for accurate and timely information to be supplied as soon as possible to farmers so they can judge where they stand.
ICSA also insisted that there should be maximum flexibility and choice for farmers in availing of this concession. ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said: “The Department must allow farmers to choose which deadline they want (June 30 or December 31) and farmers need to be facilitated in making that choice at any stage up to and after June 30.”
Farmers should not be pressurised into making a decision in the short-term. Given the delays in getting accurate information to farmers, it is not acceptable that they will be required to make a decision too soon. For example, a farmer should have the option of trying to meet the June deadline and if that doesn’t succeed, the December deadline should be available as an alternative.”
“However, the reality is that it will be August before any farmer will get a definitive report from the Department on their position regarding the 5% reduction so it is logical that farmers cannot be expected to make a decision in the short term.”
“ICSA has held a number of meetings with the Department to outline the serious difficulties farmers have in complying with the 5% reduction target. A key issue has been that clear information regarding stocking rate (bovine nitrates tracking) has been too slow in coming but we have been given reassurances that farmers will be getting much more usable information in the coming weeks.”
“The reality is that monthly nitrates figure are being issued with at least a five-week delay. Therefore, many farmers will not even know if they have met the target until the first week in August. It is ludicrous for farmers to be expected to decide on which period they want to be assessed on, without knowing where they stand.”