Replacement for Beef Forum has Many Challenges Ahead

Commenting on the Minister for Agriculture’s announcement today of his intention to establish a new stakeholder forum for suckler and beef farmers, IFA President Tim Cullinan said the new body must be equipped with powers to have a meaningful impact on the income of livestock farmers.

He said some progress was made in the last forum in advancing the PGI status for Irish beef, and in establishing a suckler beef brand with a €6m budget to promote beef from the suckler herd.  

“These have yet to be finalised. Farmers haven’t seen any return in beef price from these initiatives.  Minister McConalogue also gave a commitment to the Taskforce to implement primary legislation to give powers to a Food Regulator to establish margins along the food supply chain. The Minister needs to act on this commitment immediately,” he said.

“Irish beef is ideally placed with its environmental and welfare credentials to meet the higher societal demands for food production standards.  This must be reflected in prices to farmers,” he said.

IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said input costs are eroding price increases over the past 12 months and winter finishers are facing into another season of uncertainty.

The CAP policy has eroded the income of our more productive beef farmers, with further challenges in meeting climate target ambitions on the horizon.

Suckler and beef farming depends on direct payments for 160% of Farm Family Income. The current policy and budgets provided are failing to support these farmers.

Brendan Golden said the new stakeholder group must deliver on maximising returns to beef farmers from the market place and ensuring the sector is supported, given the market failures that are well documented in returning a margin to beef farmers.

He said IFA look forward to engaging in the new stakeholder group, but will be doing so on the basis that this group will be in a position to make a difference for suckler and beef farmers’ incomes.

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