Representatives from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) will be before the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine when it meets tomorrow, an Oireachtas spokesperson has confirmed.

The meeting will see the committee engage with the IFA on the organisation’s report on ‘The Economic and Societal Importance of the Irish Suckler Beef Sector’.

Committee chair, Carlow-Kilkenny TD Pat Deering, commented ahead of the meeting.

“Farmers are concerned about the future development and sustainability of the Irish suckler cow sector.

“This report, commissioned by the IFA, assesses the importance of the suckler cow herd in the context of Irish agriculture, the beef sector and the economy.

The report raises a number of concerns including the low market prices relative to production costs, meaning that this large farm sector is extremely reliant on direct payments.

Deputy Deering added that the committee is keen to discuss how to ensure that the sector “does not contract and negatively impact local economies and communities”.

The meeting will start at 3:30pm tomorrow (Tuesday, December 18) in Committee Room 1, Leinster House.

Meanwhile, payments began issuing under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) on Thursday last (December 13).

Payments to the tune of €38 million commenced issuing to 21,000 farmers who have verified their compliance with the 2018 requirements, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed who announced the move.