Auctioneers called on to halt vulture fund land sales
The Institute for Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV) has been called on to withhold its services from vulture funds until all mediation avenues are explored.

Auctioneers have been called on to withdraw their services from financial institutions and vulture funds seeking to sell distressed property.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) said the Institute for Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV) should withhold their services until all other avenues are explored.

Engagement

ICSA rural development chair Seamus Sherlock said: “Estate agents and auctioneers need to come out publicly and state that they will not sell family farms, businesses or homes for vulture funds while meaningful engagement is taking place.”

ICSA recently held a protest against the sale of distressed family farms outside the offices of BidX1, an online property trading platform. Prior to the protest BIDX1 committed to ceasing the sale of agricultural land until there was an agreed framework in place between all involved parties.

However, Sherlock said: “The problem has merely moved. Other auction houses have taken up the mantle and continue to act on the instructions of vulture funds. This needs to stop. The last thing struggling families need is the threat of losing their home while they are trying to deal with their obligations to lenders.”

Mediation

He said that following the protest a fresh wave of landowners had sought ICSA’s help. He said they felt aggrieved in the manner in which institutions had sold off their loans.

Sherlock concluded by saying: “It’s time auctioneers and solicitors stand with the people and refuse to aid vultures in their quest for a quick profit. ICSA’s stance has always been mediation not confrontation. We will continue to seek outcomes that are palatable to all.”

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Permanent policy not a knee-jerk reaction needed on vulture sales – ICSA

Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed
Imposing tariffs on exports would "cripple trade", meat and dairy factory representatives have warned.

Beef and dairy bosses braced for a hard Brexit have handed a list of demands to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

With 65 days remaining to salvage a Brexit deal, the nightmare scenario of a no-deal is becoming ever more likely.

A delegation including Aurivo’s Aaron Forde, ABP’s Martin Kane, Larry Murrin of Dawn Farms Foods, Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland and Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, met with Minister Creed on Tuesday.

Dairy co-ops want dual British-Irish status for Northern Ireland milk, export refunds and other trade supports. They called for a freeze on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit and direct income aid for farmers.

Meat factory representatives warned that if tariffs are imposed on exports to the UK “it would cripple trade”, with the additional danger of sterling devaluation in a no-deal outcome.

They called for extra resources to ensure speedy border checks and increased ferry capacity and routes for direct shipping to the continent.

While European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan reassured farmers Brussels is poised to swoop to their aid, a Commission spokesman confirmed a hard border is inevitable unless the British reach an agreement with the EU or delay their withdrawal.

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No-deal Brexit to add 21c/l in cheddar processing costs

EU 'stands ready' to support farmers - Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has assured farmers that Europe is planning for all possible outcomes from Brexit negotiations.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has moved to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to intervene in markets to protect prices in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We have to prepare for the worst. The European Union stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit,” Commissioner Hogan said, addressing a crowd of more than 250 farmers at the Kilkenny IFA annual dinner dance on Saturday night.

“We have the tools ready to intervene, including Aid to Private Storage, intervention and a revision of state aid rules,” he added.

Slow

His words will help give farmers comfort that, while Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been slow to commit to supports, plans for a safety net at EU level are well advanced.

Hogan reassured farmers that the EU is ready for all scenarios, but warned that the Government must also be ready and ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure products can continue to move through ports.

Gloomy

While a no-deal Brexit paints a gloomy picture, vice president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is reminding farmers that it could be avoided if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. But, she says, plans are being put in place to deal with a no-deal scenario.

“There are deep concerns about the consequences,” McGuinness told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We will need to be looking at how you are going to support a vulnerable sector, that will call for money.

"All of those things will have to be discussed in the short period of time before the United Kingdom leaves.”

Lamb prices rocketing ahead
The trade for all types of lamb is strong currently boosting farmers' confidence in the sector.

Factory agents are scouring the country in the hunt for slaughter-fit lambs.

Prices have hardened significantly over the past number of weeks.

Farmers are securing €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg, with specialised feeders negotiating in excess of €5.40/kg for lambs.

The mart trade is booming for all types of lambs currently.

Fleshed factory-fit lambs are selling over €120/head, with €125/head common for lambs weighing over 50kg.

The store lamb trade is on fire, with prices of €2.50/kg to €2.80/kg and higher being recognised for hill-bred lambs.