‘Minister must impose levy on feedlot cattle’ – Healy Eames

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been called on to impose a levy on feedlot cattle by one of the candidates in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Fidelma Healy Eames, a candidate for the Midlands-North West constituency, also said that the €100 million beef aid package, announced last week, must target family-farm producers and not feedlot operations.

“I want to see all of this fund go directly to the family farm beef producer, not to feed lots, private or processor-owned,” said the former member of Seanad Éireann.

The Co. Galway native also argued against deductions or administration fees being taken out of any money farmers would get under the package.

Healy-Eames

“As matters stand, beef farmers have become completely unviable and are now being further insulted by Revenue, referring to them as ‘hobby farmers’ due to losses for three years in a row,” she claimed.

Feedlot cattle

According to Healy Eames, feedlots “have complete control of the market”, and are depressing prices for the “small beef producers”.

The feedlot cattle are using our grass fed image and quality assistance scheme, although mass-produced and there to depress the market against the small beef producer. A lot of these feedlots have multiple thousands of cattle and have complete control of the market.

That is why she is arguing for a levy on cattle from feedlots which, she argues, should be directed back towards farmers “in crisis”.

“I want to see a levy imposed on these feedlot cattle, collected by the department, and used to create a fund to support the small family farm in crisis [that is] solely dependent on beef production,” she said.

Healy Eames called on Minister Michael Creed to “show leadership”.

“This is an intervention that Minister Michael Creed can easily make if he has the political will to do so…it is now time for him to show leadership for the beef farmer,” she concluded.