IFA President Eddie Downey has said the IFA delegation attending the recent Beef Summit organised by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney strongly reflected the anger and frustration of winter finishers following the collapse in prices and changes to specifications over the winter period.
He said the clear message to the Minister and the factories was that the decimation of margins for winter finishers cannot be allowed to happen again. Eddie Downey said the package of measures put forward by the Minister, while welcome, are not at all sufficient to address the issues in the livestock sector.
The IFA President said returning profit to the beef sector is vital and the immediate priority for the forum must be to address the beef specification concerns, contracts and premiums for winter finishing, restrictions on cattle movements, labelling and North/South trade issues.
The IFA President said farmers would judge this process on the basis of their concerns being fully addressed. He said, “The prices they secure from the market must fully reflect the work and investment involved in producing quality stock”.
At the summit, Eddie Downey also highlighted the need for the Minister for Agriculture to reject outright any attempt to reach a deal with the Mercosur group that would damage vital European beef and pork markets.