07 Sep 2018
SUCKLER SECTOR ON A CLIFF EDGE – IFA PRESIDENT TELLS ASA CONFERENCEBrussels, CAP, Cattle, IFA in Brussels
Speaking at the ASA Conference today (Fri) during a discussion on The Challenges in the Global Marketplace for Beef, IFA President Joe Healy warned that suckler farming is now on a cliff edge, due to EU agricultural policy which is asking farmers to produce beef at low prices while reducing direct payments and insisting on ever higher standards.
Joe Healy said the move of CAP policy away from price supports towards direct payments has made beef farming extraordinarily challenging at current prices. At the same time, the EU Commission is reneging on its side of the bargain by proposing further cuts of €100m per annum on Irish farmers as part of CAP reform proposals.
The Teagasc figures from Newford in Athenry revealed this week at their open day, show that even the most efficient suckler farming model is not profitable. Yet the response from the Commission, in the latest CAP reform proposals, is to further cut direct payments and to ask European farmers to meet even higher standards.
To compound this, the Commission is hellbent on concluding a Mercosur trade deal with South America, which would allow more beef imports into the EU despite these countries having lower production standards and their beef production having a negative climate impact.
Joe Healy said two significant political decisions will be made in the next month. “The upcoming Budget on October 9th provides our Government with the opportunity to help suckler farming by increasing supports for suckler cows, while at EU level, further talks are scheduled for Uruguay next week with a view to concluding a trade deal with the Mercosur group of countries.”
“Minister Donohoe and Minister Creed must deliver an increase in funding for suckler cows in October’s Budget and we need the Irish Government and Commissioner Hogan to block a damaging trade deal with the Mercosur group.”
“The new CAP must reflect the realities being faced by farmers on the ground. We need an increase in payments at least in line with inflation, not a €100m cut as currently proposed,” he said.