IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said immediate direct financial supports must be provided to farmers to offset the increased costs for feed, fertiliser and fuel on suckler, cattle rearing and finishing farms.
“These supports must be paid directly to farmers based on their level of production,” he said.
Brendan Golden said it’s vital that cattle continue to be finished in line with our well-established production systems. These have delivered a consistent year-round supply of beef and have been fundamental to securing key export markets.
These practices require upfront investment in animals and feed, which in normal times carries a degree of risk. This risk is now at levels that are not sustainable for the low-margin beef production sector.
“Any disruption to the beef trade will have devasting consequences for these farmers. There is a real concern the trade of beef animals will be severely disrupted and in turn our supply chain for beef if there is a failure to put guarantees in place for farmers who are producing beef for this Autumn and next Spring,” he said.
The IFA Livestock Chairman said availability of key inputs must be assessed immediately and restrictions on land use under schemes, nitrates requirements and other legal obligations must be removed to ensure farmers have all lands at their disposal to produce food.
These include areas such as Wild Bird cover, traditional hay meadows and low input grasslands in the GLAS scheme and the removal of nitrates impediments, including derogation farmers and hedge cutting where necessary to maximise planting areas.
Brendan Golden said policy makers at EU and national level have failed European consumers and European farmers.
“The relentless pursuit of a cheap food policy; the erosion of supports for food production; and the trade-off of Irish and EU farmers in trade deals for the benefit of large corporations and industrialists has undermined Irish and EU food sovereignty.”
The CAP, Green Deal and Farm to Fork have further undermined the ability of Irish and EU farmers to produce food. The damage done to productive farmers in these flawed policies must be reversed.
“EU and national policy must value the vital role of farmers in providing security of food for the citizens of the EU, food which is produced to the highest environmental and welfare standards in the world,” he said.