€101m breakdown: Authorities urged to save farmers ‘facing financial ruin’

Beef farmers have already incurred beef price losses of €101 million since last autumn due to Brexit, according to Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) calculations.

Speaking on the matter, IFA president Joe Healy said:

“Beef farmers have gone through a horrendous period of financial losses, mainly as a result of Brexit-imposed market uncertainty, changes to the sterling exchange rate and price cuts.

Some beef farmers are facing financial ruin. They cannot afford to carry this magnitude of loss and it is essential that the Government and EU Commission provide a direct support aid package for the farmers concerned.

Healy said the IFA has written to both Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan outlining the details on the €101 million losses.

The president added that this is the real test for the Government and the EU Commission on their promises to support farmers through this “most difficult period”.

IFA National Livestock chairman Angus Woods said it is clear Brexit has already impacted severely on the beef sector and all of this has been pushed back down on top of farmers at the start of the food chain.

“These farm families have major financial bills with banks, merchants and others and they cannot be left hung out to dry,” he said.

Analysis

The IFA analysis covers the period from September 1, 2018, up to March 23, 2019.

The IFA has calculated the losses based on comparing cattle prices in 2015 (pre-Brexit) to the very low prices producers received in the autumn of 2018 and the winter/spring of 2019.

For steers, heifers and young bulls, prices are based on the official Bord Bia reported R3 price. For cows the O3 grade price comparison was used.

Source: IFA

Department of Agriculture weekly cattle numbers at the meat plants and average carcass weights were used in the calculations, according to the IFA.