It has been confirmed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, that the Beef Market Taskforce will assemble in the coming 10 days.

Speaking to AgriLand at a Brexit seminar titled: ‘Practical Steps to keep Agri-Food Trade Moving’, Minister Creed said: “I would hope within the next week to 10 days we will be in a position to progress the Beef Market Taskforce.”

The seminar took place this morning, Monday, September 30, at the Radisson Blu, Little Island, Co. Cork.

As part of the ‘Irish Beef Sector Agreement’ the establishment of a Beef Market Taskforce was agreed with the aim of providing leadership and to develop a “sustainable pathway” for the future of the beef sector in terms of economic, environmental and social sustainability.

The taskforce “will be independently chaired” by an appointee of the minister and will include Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, relevant state agencies and nominees for the farm organisations and the meat industry.

Budget 2020

Commenting on the upcoming budget, Minister Creed said: “The primary focus on the budget preparation is to deal with a no-deal Brexit.”

He noted: “We must be able to have the firepower necessary for the agricultural sector should we have a no-deal Brexit and that’s exactly where the focus is on budget preparations.”

CAP reform

Minister Creed today explained “the biggest concern around CAP is on the budget, and getting it right is the first challenge”.

He noted that it is “something we need to address with all member states because the UK leaving the EU is leaving a big hole in finances and others need to step up to the plate”.

We have indicated that – as a Government – we are prepared to pay more into the CAP budget but others need to also because EU funding is done under unanimity.

He reiterated that the “trust of the next CAP is going to be much more about sustainability and environmental issues”.

“In terms of livestock farmers, this [the measures] is something we can use to our advantage in terms of delivering supports for public goods that these people are – in many ways – doing anyways.”

Concluding, he noted: “What we will do is develop the toolbox – that the CAP process gives us the opportunity to do – so we can then present a menu of options and they [farmers] can pick what suits themselves.”