Meat processors urged to be ‘conscious’ of the difficulties facing farmers

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, thinks meat processors need to be conscious of the difficulties facing farmers when setting their prices.

But he stressed that, as a minister, he doesn’t have any role in terms of setting prices.

Speaking to AgriLand, he said: “This has been an exceptionally difficult year. There’s a symbiotic relationship between dairy processors and dairy farmers.

It’s equally applicable that there is a symbiotic relationship between beef processing plants and beef farmers. You can’t have one without the other.

“This is a difficult period of time and I think the processors should be conscious of that,” the minister added.

During this week’s meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill stated that meat factories were “letting down the sector” by implementing “unjustified” price cuts.

He believes that the beef forum needs to be tasked with finding out what exactly the market is returning for beef, in order to determine whether the price cuts being implemented at present are justified.

“Some men put cattle into sheds in the summer time to feed to try and reduce the demand for grass on their farms.

Some of them cattle are now getting ready for slaughter and we see factories now, in my view, implementing unjustified cuts.

“It has really shaken the confidence in trade to have these price drops happening at this time,” he said.

However, during this week’s agriculture committee meeting, Minister Creed did note that Irish beef prices do stand up relatively well when compared with European prices and he acknowledged the fact that Irish processors do export the vast majority of what they process in order to get it to market.