What is the Govt’s Plan for the Suckler Sector?

IFA President Tim Cullinan said the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue should focus on supporting beef farmers instead of constantly talking about a suckler exit scheme which he himself ruled out six months ago in Thomond Park.

IFA did reject the Minister’s half-baked Food Vision Report in its entirety as there was no funding plan to develop the sector or properly support suckler and beef farmers who are delivering significant public goods and contributing hugely to the rural economy to implement the proposals.

It is not correct for the Minister to claim IFA’s objections were to individual proposals in the report. IFA have consistently set out our willingness to engage in meaningful discussions on all proposals when the order of priority is addressed and funding levels are provided.

Mr Cullinan continued, “Teagasc recently published their updated MACC curve for the sector, which sets out pathways towards reducing emissions from agriculture. Much of the focus has been on projections showing a potential significant reduction in suckler cow numbers. The reality is the MACC curve is projecting forward the expected trends in suckler cow numbers under current Government policies. The fault here lies with our Government who need to put confidence into the sector with a properly funded plan”. 

IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said the reality is that with the UK market now open to Australian imports on foot of Brexit the Irish beef sector is facing even more challenges. The Irish Government must make a significant allocation from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve funding to the sector instead of allowing the money return to Brussels unused.

“The Government needs to tell us what their plan is for sucklers and come forward with a properly-funded plan for the sustainable development of the sector”. 

IFA has put forward detailed proposals for suckler and beef farmers that help in providing economic viability while supporting farmers in implementing the enabling factors to achieve our climate target ambitions.

Brendan Golden said we have yet to see any funding proposals from the Minister as to how the sector will achieve these targets and the reality of this inaction has again been starkly highlighted in the Teagasc MACC curve.

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