Closing Date on Monday 21 June 2021
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D, today reminded BEAM participants that the option to choose the alternative BEAM reduction period of 1st January 2021 to the 31st December 2021 closes on Monday 21st June 2021.
The current reduction period is 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021. However, as a result of COVID-19 and the impact it could have on some farmers meeting their 5% bovine Nitrates reduction requirement, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine wrote to the European Commission in January 2021 seeking an extension of the reduction period.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine opened a facility on agfood.ie on 19 March 2021 allowing a farmer to indicate if they wished to opt for the later reduction period of 1 January 2021 – 31 December 2021, over which to meet their 5% reduction requirement.
Since the 19 March, almost 6,000 BEAM participants have opted to defer.
The Minister commented that, “Achieving flexibility around the BEAM reference period a key priority of mine as I knew that a lot of farmers were in danger of missing the initial reference period. I succeeded in getting consent from the European Commission to facilitate the changing of the reference period and I am now urging farmers to use this maximum flexibility to do all they can to meet the requirements of the scheme. Farmers need to take a proactive approach to avoid facing penalties. If a farmer considers they cannot meet the 5% reduction requirement by 30th June 2021, they should opt to defer and choose the later 12 month reduction period of 1st January 2021 – 31st December 2021.”
The Minister reassured BEAM participants that if they opt to defer but subsequently meet the 5% reduction requirement in the original reduction period (1st July 2020 – 30th June 2021), the Department will advise them that they are being removed from the later reduction period, unless they notify the Department otherwise.
Minister McConalogue reminded farmers that the Department’s BEAM Bovine Nitrates Calculator is available on agfood.ie and is being updated monthly. He encouraged participants to utilise the range of tools available including the monthly letter to each BEAM participant outlining their individual progress to date on achieving the 5% reduction and to engage with their agricultural advisor if necessary.