Factories dropping the beef price is ‘unjustified’ – Joe Healy

Any drop in beef prices from meat factories, following the Brexit outcome, is unjustified, according to IFA President Joe Healy.

Speaking on RTE Radio today, the IFA President said that the IFA is hopeful that the factories will realise that the markets are strong in the UK.

“On the Friday of the announcement of Brexit, I called for the processors to ensure that calm remained.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen the factories try and pull their quotes and some farmers have sold at [these prices].

Factories have hedged the prices, I’m saying to farmers to hold off and ensure that the factories return what they should be returning.

Healy said that he wants to see the farmers get at least about the cost of production, which according to Teagasc is €4.00/kg, but Healy said that farmers are currently getting around €3.90/kg.

Speaking on Brexit and Ireland’s dependency on the UK for our beef exports, the IFA President said that he has asked the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed to put more resources to access new markets, worldwide and in Europe.

“Over half of our beef goes into the UK, we need to use the next two years wisely… it’s more than likely [that Ireland] will face tariffs to export beef into the UK [after it leaves].

“At the moment, the market can return an awful lot more than what the processors are quoting.”

On Mercosur and a possible deal with the UK, Healy said that any deal will depend on the way the UK leaves the EU and the relationship that it wants to continue.

From a farmer’s point of view, farmers in the UK know that a Mercosur deal with the UK would be damaging for them.

Also speaking to RTE Radio was the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed who said that he understands farmers concerns.

“The beef industry is of huge importance and it is imperative for the processors that beef farmers make money.

“I will be convening a meeting of the Beef Forum on July 21 and all of the issues around Brexit will be discussed. It’s important that we don’t panic.”

Minister Creed said that his Department is doing a lot to explore other market opportunities for Irish beef.

On the recent announcement that Ireland has gained access to the US beef market for beef for grinding (mince) he said that 80% of beef Americans consume is in the form of beef for grinding (mince).

“It’s a significant opportunity, the industry needs to step up to the plate and start selling Irish beef into that market.”