An extension to the BEAM scheme for farmers must be secured by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, according to Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

Reacting to today’s news that Minister Charlie McConalogue has written to the European Commission for alternatives for the participants not currently in line with the original scheme’s requirements, Fitzmaurice believes an extension must be secured.

“Like many public representatives right around the country, I have been inundated from calls from livestock farmers unable to reach the 5% reduction outlined in the BEAM scheme.

“The majority of farmers find it extremely difficult to make sense of the nitrate statements sent out to them, as well as the fact that the statements available on the agfood website are only updated monthly.

“For instance, if a scheme participant logged in at the beginning of this month – the figures up to the last day of November were available. But this won’t update again until the first couple of days of February. So in essence, farmers are trying to work off figures that are two months old at the moment.

“There is also the issue of animals moving between different age groups throughout the course of the year, which is leading to further confusion when efforts are made to come up with calculations.

“These issues have been faced by a considerable amount of farmers, hence why the majority of participants are failing to meet the requirements as they stand.

“That being said, any changes must not impact those participants who are able to meet the requirements by the original deadline,” he concluded.

Michael Fitzmaurice – 0861914565

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