Agriculture

IFA to lobby Oireachtas members over beef crisis

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Tipperary Star reporter

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IFA to lobby Oireachtas members over beef crisis

The IFA is to meet Oireachtas members on the beef crisis

The IFA is due to hold an intensive lobby of all TDs and Senators on the beef crisis in Dublin on Wednesday, February 13.

IFA president Joe Healy said the crisis was due to multiple factors, including poor prices, rising costs and reduced direct payments.

This had been compounded by the weakness of Sterling and the major uncertainty around Brexit, he said.

Mr Healy said compared to this time last year, cattle prices were down by 20/25 cent per kg or €100/head. Cattle finishers with young bulls were facing price cuts of 40c/kg+ and finding it almost impossible to sell their stock.

The IFA president said urgent action was required now by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, and the Government to ensure: 

- A comprehensive package of market supports and direct aid for farmers from the EU Commission

- EU state aid limitations on members states must be set-aside

- Strong support for the live export trade to double numbers in 2019 and ensure that no further restrictions are imposed on the trade

- Increased funding for suckler cows

- Continue to resist a damaging Mercosur trade deal

- Insist on an increase in the CAP budget

- Challenge the meat factories to immediately increase prices and prioritise the young bull kill.

IFA national livestock chairman Angus Woods said R3 grade young bulls in Ireland were reported at €3.71/kg for the week ending January 19.

“Compared to young bull prices across the main EU markets, we are way behind, with the Italian price at €4.55/kg inclusive VAT, the German price at €4.05/kg, French bulls at €4.02/kg and the Spanish price at €3.98/kg,” he said.

“These figures indicate that Irish young bull producers are being short changed by up to 30c/kg compared to our European counterparts,” he said.

Mr Woods said IFA had made it  “very clear" to Minister Creed at its agm that he must reconsider his approach, abandon his wait and see attitude and get back out to Brussels to secure an immediate aid package for Brexit beef losses.

Mr Woods said he met senior EU Commission officials from DG Agri in Brussels this month and put forward a strong case for a Brexit aid package for Irish beef. In addition, IFA also met senior officials in the Department of Agriculture on EU supports.

He said IFA has requested that for every 5c/kg change on the price, Minister Creed needs to secure €20 per head additional direct payment compensation.