Speaking at the Tullamore Show and FBD National Livestock show today (Sun), IFA President Tim Cullinan said our beef sector should be celebrated as a unique national asset.
“What’s on show today is testament to the passion, commitment and investment of farmers who take great pride in what they produce. Contrary to some commentary about livestock farming, we should celebrate what they do, not denigrate it,” he said.
“The Food Vision beef sub group is currently looking at proposals for the future of the sector. Any further attempt to undermine our suckler sector would be economic treason and would be likely to increase global emissions, rather than reduce them,” he said.
“The suckler and wider beef sector contributes hugely to the economic and social sustainability of rural Ireland. It is a complete fallacy to say we should reduce or restrict beef production in Ireland with Brazil and other countries waiting in the wings to further escalate production with a much higher carbon footprint,” he said.
The Irish suckler beef herd is a national asset that converts grass, much of which is grown in places that are not suitable for any other type of farming, into protein for human consumption.
“The Government needs to support the sector more and they must come forward with an enhanced Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme for Sucklers (BEEP-S) for 2023 and future years, in the upcoming budget on September 27th,” he said.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said our €2.5bn beef sector is built on the highest production standards and image of the world-class beef produced from our suckler cow farms. Suckler cow numbers are in serious decline and we are at a critical stage, with less than 50% of our beef animals now coming from suckler herds. Since 2018, there has been a 12% reduction in suckler cow numbers, leading to a reduction of over 20% in suckler beef production.