Six key principles that the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Livestock Committee and National Council set out for the distribution of the €100 million beef support fund received “backing from the floor” at the first regional information meeting on the matter, which took place last night, Tuesday, June 4.

Organised by the IFA for livestock farmers to learn details about the promised fund, revealed last month, the first of eight meetings took place in Claremorris, Co. Mayo yesterday evennig.

Over 350 farmers attended last night’s meeting with “very strong support from the floor” for some of the fund to go to suckler farmers, according to the farming association.

The six principles set out at the meeting are that the fund should be:
  • For beef farmers and must be paid to beef farmers. Not for factories, factory feedlots or factory-owned cattle, agents or dealers;
  • Targeted to the farmers who incurred the losses and the sectors who need it most in terms of income;
  • For farmers who sold prime finished cattle – steers, heifers, young bulls since last autumn, and suckler farmers;
  • Paid out quickly and directly to farmers;
  • Finished cattle sold in the marts must be included; and
  • The Department of Agriculture has all the data on the Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system to enable accurate targeting of the funds.

IFA president Joe Healy said: “During a robust debate, it was clear that finishers of prime cattle and sucklers should be the priority.

“We understand that the EU Commission will circulate a draft regulation to Member States on Thursday. This will outline parameters around the distribution of the funds,” he said.

The president outlined that the clear message from Claremorris was that the €100 million Brexit beef package has to be targeted to the farmers who need it most.

It must take account of the farmers who incurred the beef price losses and the income situation.

IFA National Livestock chairman Angus Woods said the farmers who sold prime finished cattle since last September and suckler producers are the two groups which were hit the hardest.

The next meeting will take place in Kilkenny tonight.