Oireachtas to resume hearings on bull beef crisis today

Representatives from Bord Bia, Teagasc and the Livestock Exporters Association are before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine today to consider the policy steps necessary to mitigate the current crisis affecting bull beef producers.

Earlier this month, the Committee hosted detailed discussions with the three main farming organisations, the Irish Cooperative Organisation Society and Ibec’s Meat Industry Ireland.

Committee Chairman Andrew Doyle says:

“As a Committee, we are deeply concerned about the current threat posed to Ireland’s €2 billion beef industry and the risk to the ambitious Food Harvest 2020 targets. At a meeting last month, we were told that price cuts and specification changes by processors/retailers have placed winter finishers and bull beef finishers under serious financial strain. We also heard from meat industry representatives who outlined their perspectives on the current challenges facing the sector. Recognising that urgent collective action is required to stem the crisis in the beef industry, we resume consideration of the issue with representatives from Bord Bia, Teagasc and the Livestock Exporters Association tomorrow.

“Overcoming obstacles in the trade of Irish beef in Northern Ireland and Britain is key to fostering the competition necessary to ensure a margin for Irish farmers. Representatives from the Livestock Exporters Association are expected to address the Committee on how the market barriers hindering trade might be removed. The Committee will also hear from Bord Bia and Teagasc on their perspectives on the crisis as expert marketeers and researchers in the sector.”

Separately, the Committee will meet with the Irish Farmers’ Association on how changes in the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy reforms will impact on payments under the sheep grassland scheme.

Deputy Doyle continues: “Today, we will hear representatives from the IFA outline their concerns in relation to proposed changes to Sheep Grassland Payments. Sheep farmers are increasingly concerned at the plan to incorporate the €15m sheep grassland payment into the Single Farm Payment. We look forward to exploring alternatives to the current proposals with the IFA in detail at today’s meeting.”