The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Livestock Committee chair has called for “immediate direct financial supports” to offset rising input costs on beef farms.

Brendan Golden explained that the price of feed, fertiliser and fuel was hitting suckler, cattle rearing and finishing farms.

He outlined that such cattle production systems delivered “a consistent year-round supply of beef and have been fundamental to securing key export markets”.

Although these low-margin enterprises normally carry a degree of risk as there is an upfront investment in animals and feed, Golden stated that the risk “is now at levels that are not sustainable”.

Beef farmers

The IFA Livestock chair called for scheme restrictions on land use and nitrates to be removed “to ensure farmers have all lands at their disposal to produce food”.

This includes the provision of wild bird cover, traditional hay meadows and low input grasslands as part of the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).

Golden also said that impediments should be removed for derogation farmers and hedge cutting to “maximise planting areas”.

“There is a real concern the trade of beef animals will be severely disrupted and in turn our supply chain for beef if there is a failure to put guarantees in place for farmers who are producing beef for this autumn and next spring,” he said.

The IFA Livestock chair claimed that policymakers have failed European consumers and farmers.

“The relentless pursuit of a cheap food policy; the erosion of supports for food production; and the trade-off of Irish and EU farmers in trade deals for the benefit of large corporations and industrialists has undermined Irish and EU food sovereignty.

“The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Green Deal and Farm to Fork have further undermined the ability of Irish and EU farmers to produce food. The damage done to productive farmers in these flawed policies must be reversed.

“EU and national policy must value the vital role of farmers in providing security of food for the citizens of the EU, food which is produced to the highest environmental and welfare standards in the world,” Golden stated.