An IFA livestock delegation led by the President Joe Healy met this week with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed in Dublin to highlight the severe income and price pressure on cattle farmers.
The delegation stressed the need for a strong Government response across a range of issues, including a Budget with a strong focus on beef.
Joe Healy said the Government has signalled that the Budget will be focused on dealing with the fallout from Brexit. He said “No sector has been hit harder by Brexit than cattle farmers who are losing €2m per week because of the sterling weakness. This must be addressed in the Budget.”
IFA has called for a €50 per head suckler cow payment bolt-on to the BDGP for animal welfare, as well as EU support for ongoing Brexit losses at farm level.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said Minister Creed agreed with the IFA position that there needs to be EU support for the Brexit losses at farm level. The Minister confirmed that he is seeking support at EU level to advance the case.
Angus Woods said Minister Creed reaffirmed his commitment to have AOs (Agricultural Officers) monitor trim and classification on a daily basis in the factories. He said IFA told the Minister that farmers are very frustrated over the delays in implementing this essential measure.
Angus Woods said IFA raised the need to increase the 30-month age limit. He said there was no longer justification for the 30-month rule and it was impacting farmers’ ability to sell harder. He said the Minister should resist this condition being applied in any veterinary certs or retail specifications.
The IFA Livestock Leader said Minister Creed accepted that there needs to be more transparency and competition in the beef sector. He said a strong live export trade is essential for the livestock sector. “Minister Creed made it clear he is very committed to supporting the live trade and every market opportunity will be fully pursued.” Support for Producer Organisations and how they can be advanced was also discussed at the meeting.