The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has called on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, not to forget that beef finishers need to be recognised with a specific payment in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Beef Committee chair, Edmund Graham said: “With all the focus on climate change and the targets that will be set for the farming sector, it is a no-brainer to include funding for a beef carbon efficiency payment as set out in the ICSA CAP plan.”

Flattening of payments in CAP

The ICSA maintains that beef finishers will be the most impacted by the flattening of payments in the CAP.

Graham continued: “Originally, beef finishers were the sector that were targeted for CAP payments with the dismantling of price supports and export refunds.

“But over recent years, their payments have been steadily pared back to the extent that most beef finishing operations are now losing money.

“If there are no beef finishers, then neither dairy farming nor suckler farming are sustainable in their current format. This has to be a key problem that needs addressing in the CAP strategy,” he added.

CAP payment for beef finishers

The ICSA said that its proposal is a critical “strategic response” to the need to address climate change, both in terms of national emissions targets and also in terms of the need to meet EU objectives in the CAP plan.

“Like it or not, the EU Green Deal is going to put pressure on Ireland, and it makes a lot of sense to reduce emissions by finishing cattle earlier,” Graham continued.

“But this won’t happen if the right incentives are not in place, and these incentives must be targeted at reasonable scale, commercial beef farmers.

“That’s why the minister must look very carefully at the ICSA proposal for a €100/head payment on up to 150 cattle for finishing bulls, steers and heifers at an earlier age.”

The ICSA said that the minister must show a commitment to the beef sector adding that the proposal would also be “completely in accordance with the national Ag-climatise strategy”, describing it as a “win-win proposal”.