IFA president Tim Cullinan has said that any further attempt to undermine the suckler sector would be “economic treason”.

Speaking at the Tullamore Show and FBD National Livestock show on Sunday, Cullinan said the country’s beef sector should be celebrated as a unique national asset.

“What’s on show today is testament to the passion, commitment and investment of farmers who take great pride in what they produce.

“Contrary to some commentary about livestock farming, we should celebrate what they do, not denigrate it,” he said.

“The Food Vision beef subgroup is currently looking at proposals for the future of the sector. Any further attempt to undermine our suckler sector would be economic treason and would be likely to increase global emissions, rather than reduce them,” he said.


The suckler and wider beef sector contributes hugely to the economic and social sustainability of rural Ireland, he said.

“It is a complete fallacy to say we should reduce or restrict beef production in Ireland with Brazil and other countries waiting in the wings to further escalate production with a much higher carbon footprint,” he said.

He called on the Government to support the sector more and said it must come forward with an enhanced Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme for Sucklers (BEEP-S) for 2023 and future years, in the upcoming budget


IFA national livestock chair Brendan Golden said Ireland’s €2.5bn beef sector is built on the highest production standards and the image of the world-class beef produced from our suckler cow farms. Golden said suckler farming is an extremely vulnerable sector, with average incomes just over €10,000 a year.

“Suckler and beef farmers will play our part on climate action. Measures that are practical to implement; have the potential to add value on our farms; and contribute to the climate objective will all be considered.

“But the level of ambition for the sector will be determined by the level of Government and industry ambition to directly support farmers in the process. We do not have the economic capacity for extra investments or changes of practice on our farms,” he said.

Golden said there is a real opportunity for Government now to come forward with a funding package to support suckler and beef farmers to ensure as a country we continue to produce beef at a time of real food security and food sovereignty concerns.

He said the tools are not yet available/proven that can guarantee specific emissions reduction at a national level.