‘Dairy farmers get €14m – beef farmers get a forum’

Sheep and beef farmers can not be forgotten about, according to the President of the ICSA Patrick Kent.

Speaking at a recent sitting of the Joint Committee of Agriculture, the President of the ICSA said that the lack of income in both the beef and sheep sectors tends to be a crisis every year.

According to Kent, members of the ICSA wasttt amazed at how quickly the crisis in the dairy sector was resolved and how quick funds were sourced for dairy farmers from Europe.

Many of our members have expressed amazement at how quickly a crisis in the dairy sector was dealt with by the Council of Ministers and the Commissioner in Brussels.

Kent added that sheep and beef farmers were forgotten about in this aid package, despite both industries struggling with income.

“A package of almost €14m was delivered for Irish farmers, but sheep and beef farmers got nothing from this.

“You would think that that beef and sheep farmers were in clover, but 12 months ago when beef was in crisis all we got was a beef forum.”

However, despite the downfall in dairy incomes, Kent added that he expects dairy incomes to surpass both beef and sheep incomes this year.

“I can confidently predict that dairy incomes will be still higher than beef, sheep or suckler incomes.”

Food chain not working for sheep and beef farmers

The President of the ICSA added that the food chain is currently not working in favour of the farmer.

We also have to consider the way that the food chain is not working for beef and sheep producers, we have seen over regulation of farmers.

“The money flow back to farmers has been totally neglected, we have got to get cognisant of that fact.”

According to Kent, the processors and retailers are holding on to the profits generated from the sales of both beef and sheep products.

The profit is not coming back to the farmer and these multinational supermarkets tend to be getting bigger and more powerful.”

Kent added that appears that the farmer does all the work while the processors and retailers claim all the profits.

The margins of farmers are very transparent, but we know nothing of the margins made by retailers when it comes to key products such as beef lamb and dairy. This cannot be allowed to continue.

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