Hailing the €100 million fund announced to support beef farmers counting the cost of Brexit, Macra na Feirme has called for top-up payments for farmers under 40 to be made available under the expected package.
Commenting on the announcement, Macra’s new national president Thomas Duffy said: “The past year has been an incredibly difficult time for all farmers.
“From those struggling to recover from last year’s drought to those suffering lower returns from the market due in part to Brexit uncertainty.
“This announcement goes some way to helping farmers deal with these difficult situations; however, how it is distributed to farmers to ensure the fairest and most widespread benefit to all family farms in the beef sector is the most important question.”
Duffy said that young farmers starting out or entering family arrangements have been left even more exposed in the sector.
He added that the challenges such as a lack in the availability of land, continued high rental prices and lack of credit – combined with historical reference payment system of subsidies – have left many young beef farmers in an “even more difficult position”.
For that reason, Macra na Feirme believes that a top-up payment should be available to all young beef farmers under the age of 40.
“Ensuring the survival of the beef sector by preventing the loss of young beef farmers is something which stretches far beyond Brexit,” Duffy concluded.
The young farmers’ organisation has outlined that the mechanism for distribution should not disregard any section of the beef sector; Macra is calling for the package to ensure that suckler farmers, those practising calf-to-beef including dairy calves and finishers are properly compensated for the losses incurred.
It would be neither fair nor beneficial for the beef sector to have an oversimplified payment system which does not fairly treat all vital links in the beef supply chain provided by family farms, the association said in a statement.