IFA President Tim Cullinan was joined by Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden and Dairy Chairman Tom Phelan in a conference call with the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed this week.
Speaking afterwards, the IFA President said Minister Creed needs to realise that beef finishers, who are a vital part of the sector, are battling a crisis that is not of their making.
“We need action from the Minister to release the unspent BEAM funding of €24m to the sector immediately. I have spoken to the Minister’s cabinet colleagues and they agree that beef finishers need urgent support,” Tim Cullinan said.
“The Minister confirmed to IFA that he would be putting forward a strong case to the EU for direct payments for beef farmers and for Private Storage Aid for the beef and dairy sectors. However, the next meeting of EU Council of Agriculture Ministers is not until April 27th. Beef farmers, in particular, cannot wait until then,” said the IFA President
IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden told Minister Creed many farmers can’t get cattle killed, with factories saying they cannot take the stock. “On top of this, prices have collapsed by €100 per head in the last three weeks and are down €200 per head from break even.”
“There is no doubt but that the EU will need to respond to this crisis. However, the Minister needs to act in the short term to support beef farmers” he said.
IFA National Dairy Chairman Tom Phelan told Minister Creed that the Aids to Private Storage were needed in the dairy sector to stabilise markets.
“Global dairy markets are under pressure: in the last week alone, Dutch spot butter prices have fallen €500/t to €2,700/t and SMP by €170/t to €1,850/t. With the food service sector closed, there will be a need to store product until they’re open fully,” he said
IFA also raised the issue of the difficulties with the calf and store cattle trade due to the restrictions on the marts and the need for the €350 per week Government payment to include farmers who cannot trade.