MAJOR INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR EASTER LAMB

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IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said there is a major increase in demand for lamb at retail level for Easter and this is reflected in processors actively looking for lambs from farmers this week.

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IFA President Tim Cullinan said that Supervalu must clarify their beef purchasing policy after beef sold in one of their stores was labelled as being from Azerbaijan.

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IFA President Tim Cullinan said at a time when Irish beef farmers are facing collapsing prices, it’s incredible that the ABP food group, an Irish-owned company, would bring in beef from Poland to stock supermarket shelves in the UK.

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Rose Mary McDonagh, Chair of the IFA Farm Business Committee, advised farmers to take steps to ensure they have cashflow on farms and maintain their good credit history.

She said, “The impact of Covid-19 is unprecedented – and is being felt from farm families up to a global level.  There is so much to deal with and so many different ways we are being asked to adapt, all of which are causing problems and stress on farms.  It is vitally important to contact your bank if your income is being affected by Covid-19, or you think it will be”.

“There are supports from the banks. Increased working capital and overdraft are being provided, in addition to payment flexibility on loan facilities including repayment breaks on interest and/or capital for an initial period of up to three months.  Do not simply stop direct debits for loan repayments or exceed your overdraft limit without talking to them first. Doing so could affect your credit history and in a worst-case scenario, your borrowings could be classified as a non-performing loan.”

IFA has been in dialogue with the banks, stressing the need for flexibility and supports to ensure there is cashflow on farms. Also, that farmers are being advised about the loan breaks available, as well as options to take out low-cost loans if needed, rather than expensive overdrafts.  IFA has information regarding finance matters, as well as bank contact numbers, available on the Association’s Covid-19 web hub.

The banks are receiving a massive influx of calls, making it frustrating for customers trying to get through, but they have told IFA that staff have been redeployed to help deal with the backlog.

The Farm Business Chair stressed that farmers need to prioritise making that call.

She concluded, “Banks must help keep the confidence in agriculture.  The land will still be here, the farmers will still be working, Covid-19 will pass and we will get through this”.

 

IFA Rural Affairs Chairman Paul O’Brien has welcomed the Government’s announcement today of the Community Call support plan being implemented in each local authority area, to ensure that all vulnerable members of our communities are appropriately supported during this COVID-19 pandemic.

IFA is one of the partner organisations of this initiative in each county, which is designed to support all those in our community, particularly those who are ‘cocooning’.

He said, “Our 29 County Executives, 940 branches and 70,000 members are in every parish in the country. Each local authority has introduced a dedicated support. helpline Our members are embedded in the community. We are working with the other partners in this initiative to ensure that anyone who needs help gets it,” he said.

“Our county and branch network is also keeping in close contact with our members to try and make sure they don’t feel isolated at this time,” he said.

 

Paul O’Brien has also reminded farmers to ensure they have completed their ‘Plan B’ document, which they can hand over to someone to step-in and help with the running of the farm, if they have to self-isolate or fall ill because of COVID-19.

The ‘Plan B’ document is available to download from IFA’s COVID-19 web hub on ifa.ie/COVID19, which provides information on:

  • Government unemployment and illness schemes
  • Health and safety
  • Banking & taxation
  • Issues posed by restrictions
  • Farms with employees

He has encouraged all farm families to continue to support the national effort to tackle the pandemic and to keep connected by phone and on-line with IFA and their wider community.


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