Brexit impact ‘costing Irish beef farmers €4 million a week’

Comments on how the EU Commission will support farmers in the event of no-deal Brexit, made by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, have been welcomed by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

However, the association is insisting that beef farmers need help, deal or no deal.

Speaking following a meeting in Brussels yesterday, Tuesday, April 9, ICSA president Patrick Kent said:

“The ICSA spoke to Commissioner Hogan today in Brussels and made the case that beef farmers are already taking a massive hit on Brexit.

We estimate the cost of Brexit impact on beef price is already costing Irish beef farmers some €4 million a week on the prime cattle kill alone with knock-on impact for calf and store producers.

“The ICSA has asked Commissioner Hogan to make immediate representations to the budget commissioner for a support package for the beef farmers who are the most affected by Brexit – regardless of whether it’s a no-deal Brexit or some other outcome.”

The president outlined that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit – coupled with the current confusion in London – is doing a “massive amount of harm” to the beef farming sector with prices now way below the cost of production.

Beef prices at €3.70/kg for steers compare badly with the average annual price for R3 steers of €4.20/kg that was available in 2015. In turn, the average 2015 price was a lot lower than the peak €4.40/kg available 2013.

“The ICSA argues that the cost of production is now at least €5/kg when labour is costed.

“If the Brexit uncertainty continues to keep prices down at current levels, Irish beef farmers will not survive,” Kent warned.