Speaking to Agriland at today’s Beef 2014 event, Agriculture Minister Tom Hayes said that the Open Day will play a key role in helping Irish livestock farmers secure a viable future for their businesses.

“There is a sustainable future for beef production in Ireland. And the invaluable research and development work being carried out by Teagasc will allow the industry as a whole move forward. Today’s event has highlighted the potential for Irish beef production over the coming years. The key take home message for farmers here today is that there is still so much they can do to reduce their cost base and improve upong the efficiency levels of their businesses.”

When queried about the current pricing policies of the meat plants, he said farmers must receive viable prices for their cattle. But it’s also important for the meat plants to make profits. “I am hopeful that the recently established Beef Forum will provide a mechanism through which the needs of the beef industry can be discussed and acted upon in full.”

The Minister continued: “This is a fundamentally important week for Irish agriculture and food. In addition to the Beef 2014 event we will be hosting visits by leading representatives from the Chinese and American governments. Both are key decision makers within their own countries.

“The United States and China represent key markets which the Irish food industry will want to target. This week’s visits will help in the development of a strong working and trading relationship with both countries.”

When asked about this week’s decision by the Russian government to ban the importation of beef offal from Ireland, Minister Hayes said: “This matter is being dealt with at Embassy level. We have a very good diplomatic relationship with Russia and I am sure this matter can be sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction quite quickly.”