NFU Scotland vice-president encourages beef producers to apply for efficiency scheme

National Farmers Union (NFU) Scotland vice-president Rob Livesey highlighted the “particularly difficult time” the beef sector is facing in his latest blog, and how this can be overcome. 

According to Livesey, the application period for the recently announced Beef Efficiency Scheme (BES) offers a very short window for producers to apply for funding in something the industry has already been doing.

“Basically all farmers that had calves born in 2015, who qualify for the beef calf scheme and for which they should have had a payment recently, will be eligible for additional potential funding for calves born in 2016-2020,” he wrote.

The vice-president said it was “imperative” that producers get signed up for the scheme before 31 May this year, and that there would be no second chance to enter the scheme, although there is a chance to withdraw before next year.

“It’s really important that as many people as possible get on and apply,” he said. “Getting this additional funding into the industry is fundamentally important.

“It’s not difficult, in that most of what is being asked we are already doing. The vast majority have a calving book, so most information will be there anyway.

Livesey said that all producers will have received a BES calving book, with an additional calving diary accessible by phoning ScotEID.

Producers will also be required to perform a number of tasks, as well as to identify improvements, including taking DNA from a selected 20% of calves. Livesey said the whole idea of the scheme was to help producers benefit financially and efficiently, and that none of the requirements were difficult.

“I’m sure we can all find some fault with parts of this initiative, but for the industry as a whole it’s really important we engage in it and make it work,” he said.

“The union continues to push for growing businesses to be addressed and new entrants to get scheme access.”

Livesey said he was certain that his own beef enterprise would feel the positive impacts regarding physical, efficient and financial outcomes of the scheme.

“A couple of hours spent in the office filling in the data looks relatively straightforward and will pay better than many other jobs I could be doing.

“I intend to weigh and DNA-tag the calves at weaning, so the physical extras don’t look too demanding.

“Having applied for the scheme myself last week, even a half-wit like myself found it easy enough. The contract details look long-winded, but the table showing my annual payment schedule will make it worthwhile.”

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