IFA President Joe Healy said the suckler cow herd is the backbone of our €3bn beef and livestock sector and suckler farming, which is vitally important to every rural parish across the country.
He said, “Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed must fully support the suckler herd and appreciate its importance for Irish agriculture and rural Ireland.
“At the IFA AGM last week, the Taoiseach set it out when he highlighted the importance of the beef sector by stating that without it ‘Ireland would not be Ireland’. It is crucial that this expression of support translates into real Government measures that make a difference,” he said.
“It has been well flagged that the Government is planning to spend an extra €3bn in the next Budget due to the improvement in the national finances. This provides an ideal opportunity for the Government to back up their words of support for the sector. Minister Creed needs to invest in the suckler herd and tackle the income crisis on livestock farms.”
Joe Healy said, “From our lobbying work with public representatives across the political parties, there is strong support for sucklers. Minister Creed needs to take the lead, harness this political support and turn it into real delivery in the form of additional payment for sucklers”.
The IFA and the Farmers Journal will be holding meetings in a number of marts across the country in the coming weeks where the campaign for increased support for sucklers will be ramped up.
Angus Woods said there was too much negative talk about the demise of the suckler cow herd. He said there is no doubt that suckler farmers are under intense income pressure and additional direct support was critical. However, he said the suckler herd was well worth investing in as it delivers an immense return across rural areas.
An IFA study by UCD showed that for each €1 of support invested in the beef and livestock sector underpins over €4 in output in the Irish economy. IFA is undertaking further research in to quantify the full contribution the Suckler herd is currently making the economy in rural areas.
Angus Woods said IFA will continue to campaign and support a strong live export trade, which he said was essential for price competition and market outlets.
In addition, he said IFA was committed to ensuring that farmers are properly rewarded for quality in terms of the price they receive for their stock.
He said IFA was opposed to the spurious argument made for flat pricing. He said this week IFA was lobbying TDs and Senators across the country on defending the beef and suckler sector in the EU – Mercosur trade deal, with the negotiations set to resume in Brussels next week.