The Irish Natura And Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has today, Thursday, July 11, launched a 10-point plan which it claims is ‘for the future of suckler beef farming and ensuring food security for EU citizens and consumers’.

According to the INHFA, the coming months will provide “a good indication” on the future direction of the suckler industry.

The plan outlines: “The threats posed by the Mercosur deal and Brexit will become clearer through this autumn.

“The need to ensure tariff free trade for Irish beef into the UK market after Brexit is essential and we need the EU and our Government to ensure this happens.”

The 10 points cover the following areas:
  • Rebranding of suckler beef;
  • Market for naturally reared lighter carcass beef;
  • The four movement rule;
  • ICBF – Beef Data Genomics Programme;
  • Live exports;
  • Mercosur Free Trade Agreement;
  • EU Temporary Exception Adjustment Aid;
  • Beef Cow/ Calf Health Plan;
  • Targeted biodiversity grazing measure;
  • Rebalancing of CAP payments

In relation to the Mercosur trade deal, the INHFA said its concerns “need to be recognised and acted on”.

“We welcome the support by all political parties and independents to fight this deal and when the time comes, we hope that this support will remain firm.”

‘The greatest threat of all’

The INHFA believes that in the medium to long term, the threat posed by the expansion of the dairy industry could prove to be the greatest threat of all.

“For this expansion to continue, there is a need to encourage suckler farmers to exit the industry and move to rearing dairy beef or planting trees.”

The plan noted: “Already, we are seeing a reduction in suckler cow numbers and the concern is that this could accelerate in the coming years.”

The launch took place today in Buswells Hotel, Dublin.