Creed called on to ‘drive home’ Brexit beef support package

A further push for action on a Brexit support package for beef farmers was hot on the agenda at a farm lobby group’s meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine last night, Wednesday, April 17.

A group of senior officials from the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) met with Minister Michael Creed, to outline their demand for the farmer support package to materialise.

Leading the delegation, ICSA president Patrick Kent said: “Brexit has happened as far as beef farmers are concerned.

It started happening long ago and has been used as an all-encompassing excuse by the meat industry to cut prices. The impact has been devastating and the agony has only been prolonged.

“We brought our demand for a Brexit support package for beef farmers directly to the minister’s table. This is a demand that cannot be ignored if there is to be any hope for the beef sector.”

PGI status for suckler beef

Kent reiterated ICSA’s position that an EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status must be sought and used as a mechanism to sell suckler beef as a premium product to discerning consumers.

He said: “Any strategy to get PGI status for the entire kill, including dairy beef, risks making the same mistake as the previous attempt in 2009, which was rejected by the EU Commission.

“PGI status should be used as a device to improve returns from suckler systems,” he stressed.

Artificial incentives

Continuing, the ICSA president outlined: “The ICSA does not support artificial incentives to encourage farmers to keep more suckler cows.

“Instead we need to focus on paying better direct payments to more extensive systems of farming because we have seen time and time again that scarcity is far better than traceability or sustainability for farmers.”

Concluding, Kent said: “Our message to the minister is clear: less intensive and low-income cattle, sheep and tillage farmers need better payments.”