Reference dates for €100 million beef support fund submission explained

The reference dates used by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) in its submission to the European Commission and the Irish Government for a beef support fund have been explained.

The dates were further explained at the first of eight regional update farmer meetings being held by the IFA on the €100 million beef fund in Claremorris, Co. Mayo.

The IFA’s director of livestock, Kevin Kinsella, confirmed: “The losses were based on the price difference between 2015 – the pre-Brexit situation – and what was happening in 2018 and 2019.

We looked at the cattle that were slaughtered between September 1, 2018, right up to March 23, 2019.

Kinsella stressed that March 23 was used as the closing date as this was when the IFA made the submission, ahead of the European elections.

He added: “Of course, the losses have continued after that particular time until recent weeks when prices thankfully have improved a little.”

Where did the figure of €100 million come from?

At the meeting, Kinsella explained that the prices were based on R3 reported prices for steers, heifers, young bulls and O3 prices for cows between the dates mentioned above.

He added: “They are the categories and the standard pricing measures used by the Department of Agriculture and the Commission.

“We used the average weights as published by the Department of Agriculture for 2018 and 2019, and we used the cattle numbers from the department’s weekly kill figures.”

The losses – as a result of Brexit – after the IFA compiled the data are listed below.

  • Steers: €27,682,402;
  • Heifers: €22,141,922;
  • Young bulls: €15,109,931;
  • Cows: €31,774,137;
  • Total: €96,618,392;
  • Total including 5.4% VAT: €101,835,785.

At the meeting, IFA president Joe Healy and livestock chairman Angus Woods both stressed that suckler farmers “must be considered” in the roll-out of the package as well as farmers who were finishing cattle.

It was outlined that the IFA does not have the final say in how the package will be rolled out and noted that the responsibility will lie with the Government.

Woods also noted that “there will have to be an upper limit” on the amount of support issued to farmers who were killing larger numbers of cattle and stressed that factory-owned feedlots must not be considered in the funding allocation.

It was also noted by the IFA that the funding will not be available for factory agents or cattle dealers.