IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden has called on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and the EU Commission to move on from paying lip service to the importance of food security in the EU and start putting meaningful support measures in place for suckler and beef farmers.
These key issues have been raised with the Minister in IFA’s inputs crisis submission earlier this year and must be advanced.
The IFA Livestock Chairman said suckler and beef farming are low-income vulnerable sectors that don’t have the capacity to absorb the level of input cost inflation they are currently exposed to.
This week’s Teagasc Farm Survey said average income from suckler farming was under €10,000 and the average income from beef farming was under €16,500.
Brendan Golden said beef farmers are particularly concerned about later this year and into next year, and are reluctant to make significant investments in finishing cattle for this period.
“Market prices are strong at the moment, but on higher-stocked beef farms in particular, the market is not reflecting the higher production costs, which Teagasc have clearly identified in their analysis of the sectors.”
Brendan Golden said we have seen the first cracks appearing in the flawed EU policy of moving supports from food production. For the first time, the Commission announced that Pillar II funding can be used to directly support farmers’ income.
“The flexibilities provided by the Commission must be used as the catalyst to address the huge flaws in the proposed new CAP. The plans must be revised to provide direct support to suckler and beef farmers for the work they do in producing food. We cannot talk about providing food security for the citizens of Europe on the one hand while decimating the incomes of the farmers who produce this food in key policy areas such as the CAP,” he said.
Brendan Golden has called on the Minister for Agriculture to come forward with his proposals to provide a minimum payment of €300 for suckler cows and €100 an animal rearing and finishing payment for inclusion in the strategic plans for 2023.
He said IFA have also made a detailed submission to the Minister on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund which must be utilised to directly support suckler and beef farmers to safeguard their farm income situation from the potential impacts of Brexit.
Brendan Golden said the Minister must provide suckler and beef farmers with the certainty needed to continue to invest in their farms and plan their production cycles for the coming months and years.