Video: Ballyjamesduff Mart goers react to Mercosur deal

During a visit to Ballyjamesduff Co Operative Livestock Mart, AgriLand asked attendees for their opinions on the recently announced Mercosur deal.

As part of the most recent episode of FarmLand, farmers expressed their annoyance at the announcement that 99,000t of beef will be included as part of the draft agreement on the EU/Mercosur trade deal.

One farmer said: “They want us to plant trees here and they’re bringing it [beef] in from South America and cutting down forests. Here, you can do nothing with all the regulations. Out there, I don’t know if they even tag the cattle.

“It’s going to do away with the ordinary farmer. Even the way it was, I was taking 40c/kg less this year than other years.”

Another farmer believed that the beef is being imported so the EU can export other goods. He said: “It’s for wine and German cars; we’re only a dot on the map.”

He believes that the Irish beef industry was only a small part of the equation.

They’re talking about us cutting back our livestock. If we got rid of them all, it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference.

Another farmer expressed his resentment at the additional beef set to be imported, saying: “As Irish farmers, we don’t want to see that coming in here.”

He believes the factories are “the biggest problem” saying “they want beef for nothing”.

“It’s very disappointing,” said another man. “I wouldn’t be too happy about it; I think it will have a very negative effect and also there has been a lot of work done here and good breeding of beef cattle.

I’m not sure what their reasoning was. Maybe they want cheap beef. In that case, I don’t know how they expect beef farmers to be working here in Europe.

“The cost of beef is going down and we’re already struggling as beef farmers.

“I felt it was a disappointing situation for the beef farmers here. I reckon it’s going to have a knock-on effect and pull back the price of good cattle here.”

Concluding, the last mart goer said: “It’s absolutely crazy what’s happening. They’re doing away with forests in Brazil and they want us to plant them here in a small island.

“Any politician that’s encouraging it is not up to it at all.”