Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson on agriculture Oliver McMullan has said he welcomes the focus being placed by the North’s Farm Minister, Michelle O’Neill, to address the current low prices that beef farmers are receiving at the farm gate.

“The price of beef is currently at a low and there are downward pressures being placed on this valuable sector,” he said. “This pressure, combined with the additional conditions which both beef processors and retailers are bringing to the table have reduced already profit margins for the beef farmers.

“I understand that the Minister, Michelle O’Neill has met with representatives of the cattle markets and farming groups to listen to and address their concerns. As such I will be having meetings with processors and retailers to express our concerns on the high demands that this sector is placing on local beef farmers.” He also said we must reassert the need for a fair deal in order to make the beef sector in its entirety sustainable.

“Michelle O’Neill has also stated that she will examine how the beef sector can be prioritised in the new rural development programme as a boost to local cattle farmers. The Minister has also spoken to her counterpart in the South, Simon Coveney about the current crisis.”