IFA calls on Minister for Agriculture to address income issues on livestock farms

The IFA President, Joe Healy, has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to take decisive action to address the severe income difficulties on livestock farms this year.

Speaking at the Tullamore Show, he said that beef and sheep sectors are the heartbeat of rural Ireland, involving over 100,000 farmers and generating economic activity in every single parish across the country.

On the market situation, Joe Healy said cattle prices are back an average of 40c/kg or €145 per head on this time last year.

“This is having a severe income hit on farmers selling finished cattle off grass and also weanling and store producers selling at the marts. Minister Creed must deliver real access to new markets and strong competition in the trade in order to return viable prices to farmers.”

Joe Healy said practical measures are required to respond to the challenge of Brexit. With additional cattle numbers in the country he called on the Government to commit additional resources, in terms of manpower and funds, to secure greater market access for beef and live cattle.

He also said that it is essential more resources are provided to assist the live export trade and no effort can be spared to get the vitally important trade to Turkey moving as soon as possible.

“IFA has made it very clear to Minister Creed that a strong live export trade this autumn is essential for competition and to put a strong floor under weanling prices”.

IFA is also insisting that the additional €25m allocated for ANCs payments is brought forward to Budget 2017, made available to farmers next year and not delayed until 2018 as currently planned.

Joe Healy said IFA has negotiated a 70% advance on the Basic Payment Scheme and higher advances for some RDP schemes for the autumn payment run. He said it is essential that the Department of Agriculture make all direct payments on time and in line with the deadlines set down in the Charter of Rights.