Speaking at an IFA lobby of TDs and Senators on the beef crisis in Dublin today, IFA President Joe Healy said a hard Brexit would devastate Ireland’s €3bn beef and livestock sector. He said, “IFA estimate the imposition of WTO tariffs in a hard-Brexit will impose a direct cost on the beef sector of €800m per year”.
Joe Healy said while the Government and other sectors are talking about preparing for Brexit, beef farmers are already counting their losses. Cattle prices are down €100 per head on this time last year. He said Brexit uncertainty and the weakness of sterling has already hit hard on beef prices and farm incomes.
“The income situation on beef and livestock farms is at crisis point. The latest independent data from Teagasc shows farm incomes are down 16% in 2018 and incomes on cattle are between €10,175 and €15,412.”
IFA representatives from across the country assembled in Dublin today and lobbied TD and Senators from their constituencies on the beef crisis.
The IFA presented a detailed set of proposals including an EU Brexit Emergency Support Package to politicians, demanding that the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed take urgent action with the EU Commission to address the Beef and Brexit issues.
The IFA proposals to Government and the EU Commission include;
- An EU Brexit Emergency Support Package involving a comprehensive set of market supports and direct aid for farmers from the EU Commission
- EU state aid limitations on members states must be set-aside
- Challenge the meat factories to immediately increase prices and prioritise the young bull kill. Increase factory controls on trim, classification and weights.
- Strong support for the live export trade to double numbers in 2019 and ensure that no further restrictions are imposed on the trade
- Reward quality suckler stock with a significant price premium
- Increased funding for suckler to €200 per cow
- Insist on an increase in the CAP budget
- Continue to resist a damaging Mercosur trade deal
- Climate change recommendations which focus on the Teagasc roadmap with no carbon-based production quota.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said IFA has requested that for every 5c/kg change on the price, Minister Creed needs to secure €20 per head additional direct payment compensation.
Angus Woods said Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and the Government must adopt an urgent approach to the crisis in the beef sector. He said the Minister needs to abandon his ‘wait and see attitude’ and get back out to Brussels to secure an immediate aid package for Brexit beef losses.
Angus Woods said IFA has met with EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and senior EU Commission officials in Brussels in recent weeks and put forward a strong case for a Brexit aid package for Irish beef.
IFA also met with senior officials in the Department of Agriculture on EU supports and other measures needed for the beef and livestock sector.