‘Failures of beef sector must be laid bare’ – Rushe

Explanations on why the beef sector “has failed farmers for years” must be given, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) deputy presidential candidate Brian Rushe.

Speaking ahead of the inaugural meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce which took place on Tuesday, December 3, Rushe said: “For decades now, beef farmers have been led from one crisis to the next as prices have collapsed.”

The Co. Kildare dairy farmer added: “The promise from factories every time was ‘stick with us, it’ll get better’.”

Rushe asked: “Why should farmers be led by factories who want our top-quality produce on their terms?

The beef taskforce is our best shot to clear the boards and give farmers a roadmap which will lead to a more sustainable income.

He explained: “Beef farmers need all the stakeholders to address the problems that have plagued our beef sector for generations.”

Rushe continued: “A lack of transparency at all stages of the process, farmers being price takers not price negotiators and being slow to show innovation in the sector in terms of new markets and new beef cuts.

“In the short term, the beef factories need to stop hiding and return a price that is more reflective of the global market,” the deputy candidate stressed.

We’re behind our competitors in the EU and even beef prices for our near neighbours in Northern Ireland are roaring ahead of ours.

“If factories truly want to repair the trust with farmers, they’ll start immediately paying a price that is in line with the market.

“They [factories] are quick to talk down price when the market is under pressure so they must do the same when the market is rising,” Rushe concluded.