The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) has demanded a targeted CAP payment for farmers finishing beef cattle.
ICSA chair Edmund Graham has called on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue not to forget that beef finishers need to be recognised with a specific payment in the CAP reform.
Graham argues that it is a “no-brainer” to include funding for a beef carbon efficiency payment, which was set out in the ICSA CAP plan, to help meet the climate change targets that will be set out for the farming sector.
The ICSA proposed a €100/head payment on up to 150 cattle for finishing bulls, steers and heifers at an earlier age, which Graham claims would be a "win-win proposal".
“Beef finishers are the sector that are going to be decimated by the flattening of payments in the CAP.
“Originally, beef finishers were the sector that were targeted for CAP payments with the dismantling of price supports and export refunds.
"But over recent years, their payments have been steadily pared back to the extent that most beef finishing operations are now losing money,” Graham said.
If there are no beef finishers, then neither dairy farming nor suckler farming are sustainable
“If there are no beef finishers, then neither dairy farming nor suckler farming are sustainable in their current format. This has to be a key problem that needs addressing in the CAP strategy.
“The ICSA proposal is also a critical strategic response to the need to address climate change, both in terms of national emissions targets and also in terms of the need to meet EU objectives in our CAP plan.
"Like it or not, the EU Green Deal is going to put pressure on Ireland and it makes a lot of sense to reduce emissions by finishing cattle earlier.
"But this won’t happen if the right incentives are not in place and these incentives must be targeted at reasonable scale, commercial beef farmers.”