Speaking at the Teagasc National Beef Conference in Kilkenny today, IFA President John Bryan said with a strong Government policy and an effective implementation plan for the Food Harvest 2020 Report, up to €450m in additional profit potential can be delivered for the beef and livestock sector.
John Bryan said, “Profitability at farm level is essential for the beef and livestock sector to achieve the 20% increase in output value targeted in the Food Harvest 2020 Report. It correctly identified the closing of the price differential between Ireland and other premium competitors in the UK and EU as the key challenge facing the beef sector.”
On the protection of the Single Farm Payment, John Bryan said it is totally unreasonable and a non-runner to expect any farmer, who has invested heavily in their business, to take a cut in their direct payments as a result of CAP 2013. He said, “IFA is very clear that the Single Farm Payment must be fully protected in the reform and no farmer can lose out.”
John Bryan said, “With the Area Aid closing date set for May 16th, there is no room for any delay in opening a new AEOS for farmers. The Minister must make an immediate announcement on a strong AEOS package for the 10,000 farmers leaving REPS3.”
The IFA President also called for funding for a beef efficiency programme with discussion groups, similar to the successful initiative in the dairy sector, and an expansion of the Better Farm Programme.
The IFA President said the Association had made a comprehensive submission to the Food Harvest 2020 Implementation Group. The key points are as follows:
Processors must close the unacceptable price gap between Irish and UK/ EU cattle prices on our main export markets in order to return sustainable profit at farm level;
Increased cattle price competition by maximising market access and live export opportunities;
Cattle price contracts at profitable levels for winter finishers and other beef production systems;
Properly rewarding farmers for quality production;
Delivery by An Bord Bia in developing and promoting the Brand Ireland concept to achieve pride of place on supermarket shelves and a premium price for Irish beef;
A strong Government beef and livestock policy which will secure the future of direct payments including the Single Farm Payment in CAP 2013, Disadvantaged Areas, REPS, AEOS and the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme
Strongly defending the Irish beef sector in the Mercosur negotiations and on EU import standards
Maintaining and growing the National asset that is our one million head beef suckler cow herd;
An effective Teagasc programme and ICBF beef breeding strategy to deliver improved technical efficiency and productivity at farm level;
Reducing excessive regulation, bureaucracy and costs on production.