The €50 million beef finisher fund should be paid out amongst family farms, while factory-owned feedlots should be excluded, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) President Edmond Phelan has said.
Phelan said: “Payment must be targeted at winter beef finishers who have been hardest hit by poor prices,” and warned of the “unsustainability of current beef prices”.
The ICSA met with Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary on Friday, 24 July, and demanded:A regulator be put in place to permanently oversee the beef chain. A sheep taskforce be established to find solutions to low wool prices and provide accountability on lamb imports. The securing of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for sucklers.A commitment to a REPS with treble the funding of the current GLAS.
Phelan continued: “It is now time to turn these visions into reality and establish a regulator with real power to audit and investigate what goes on in the food chain. Robust and effective regulation is long overdue.”
With the announcement of a reduced CAP budget this week, the ICSA president said an annual budget of €750m is the minimum required.
“Minister Calleary must also ensure the continuation of the Organics Scheme as a matter of urgency. The EU-wide target of 25% of the area farmed to be set aside for organic farming by 2030 makes it clear we need to do so much more when it comes to organics,” Phelan added.
Taskforce and PGI
The ICSA insists suckler beef be developed and promoted as a unique, high-value product.
“We believe the current position of looking for PGI status for all beef is the wrong approach as it would do nothing to ensure the viability of the struggling suckler sector," said Phelan.
The ICSA president also called on the Minister to establish a sheep taskforce with a remit to tackle all ongoing issues in the sheep sector.
“It is clear the sector has greater potential, but that potential is being wasted through the lack of any specific support for sheep farmers.
“It is time for Minister Calleary to bring all relevant stakeholders together to take on these challenges and see to it that there is a future for sheep farming in this country.”
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