Large attendance at first Beef Plan public meeting
There were over 550 farmers at the first meeting of the Beef Plan 2018-2025 in Roscommon Mart last night.

The inaugural public meeting of a voluntary group of beef farmers was held last night in Roscommon Mart. The group, known as Beef Plan 2018-2025, set out its stall in front of a large group of local farmers, with numbers attending estimated to be between 550 and 600.

All farmers attending were asked to fill out their contact details on a registration form and contribute a €10 membership fee.

We have to have the balls and stand together when the text goes out not to send cattle

Eamon Corley, a founding member of the group, said the main aim was to get 40,000 farmers to “act as one”. He said a core long-term plan is to set up a producer group in each county.

“All the producer groups can be linked up. We have to make it happen ourselves. It’s the only way it will happen,” Corley stated.

Retail price

“The retail price has increased steadily over the years, but we are being squeezed all the time and destined to fail,” he added.

As part of phase one, the committee plans to mobilise members to disrupt cattle supply at short notice using text message alerts.

“You could get a text message at six in the morning asking you not to kill cattle,” a committee member said.

The idea behind the short notice is to take factories by surprise and reduce the chance of alternative arrangements being made, the committee explained.

Disruption

Committee member Michael McNally said: “We are going to cause disruption, we are going to be in a fight. If we don’t do this now, our livelihoods are finished."

McNally insisted that farmers should reject the new BEEP scheme, saying: “Let the lads carrying clipboards put the calves up the crush."

McNally also believes Teagasc has a role to play. “They know how hard it is to make money from suckler farming. They need to get off the fence and speak up,” he told the Irish Farmers Journal.

Elphin Mart manager Gerry Connellan also spoke on the night. “They started with the 30-month rule and next it was the number of movements. It’s all designed to bring down the price of beef,” he claimed.

“The IFA and the ICSA haven’t done enough for us,” he stated.

Work as one

Committee member Hugh Doyle said: “If you are to bring anything home from this meeting, it is to realise there is power in numbers, but we have to be prepared to work as one.”

Outspoken west of Ireland TD Michael Fitzmaurice was in attendance. Before the meeting concluded, he said: “We have to have the balls and stand together when the text goes out not to send cattle.”

The meeting in Roscommon was the first of a series of meetings planned around the country. The next meeting takes place at the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris, on 14 November at 8.30pm. More details of the group’s plans can be found at https://www.beefplan.ie.

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Beef plan movement to go its own way

Arrabawn holds December milk price
The processor is the most recent to announce that its milk price will be unchanged.

Arrabawn has decided to hold its price for December milk at 30.6c/l excluding VAT.

The price has remained unchanged for several months.

Most co-ops opted to leave milk prices unchanged for December.

Dairygold

Dairygold announced that it will hold their December milk price at 30.36c/l excluding VAT.

The price is inclusive of a 0.5c/l quality bonus based on standard constituents of 3.3% protein and 3.6% butterfat.

The co-op has also held this price for several months.

Lakeland Dairies, Glanbia and Kerry Group held their price at 30.4c/l (excluding VAT) for December milk supplies.

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Dairygold holds December milk price

Aurivo and Carbery set milk prices for December

The farmer's daily wrap: low-cost loans and BDGP map
Check out the latest headlines and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather forecast.

Weather forecast

A status yellow nationwide snow and ice warning is in place from 7pm Monday 21 January until 9pm the following day.

According to Met Éireann, hill and mountain areas are expected to be the worst affected.

Frost and ice are predicted and temperatures will dip to -1°C, with fresh winds.

In the news

  • Minister Creed has said some 2,511 farmers are yet to pass the approval process for their BDGP payment.
  • Vets have criticised the Department’s level of action in the run-up to Brexit.
  • Grant funding of up to €25,000 is available to farmers participating in GLAS to restore traditional farm buildings and structures.
  • Farmers will have to draw down a minimum of €50,000 to access the next low-cost loan scheme.
  • Social Farming is set to double the number of its farmer participants from 60 to 120, according to its annual report.
    Minimum €50,000 draw-down for low-cost loans
    Farmers will have to draw down a minimum of €50,000 to access the next low-cost loan scheme.

    The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has confirmed details of the Future Growth Loan Scheme, including that farmers will have to apply for a minimum of €50,000 to avail of the scheme.

    The long-awaited low-cost loan scheme will offer eligible businesses and farmers loans at an interest rate of 4.5% or less.

    The maximum draw down is €3m and the loans are for terms of between eight and 10 years.

    Banks have been invited to apply to distribute the new low-cost loan scheme, with Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank all having previously expressed interest in taking part in the scheme.

    Loans in March

    Up to €300m is available under the scheme, which is being developed in conjunction with the SBCI, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Business.

    Minister for Business Heather Humphreys previously told the Irish Farmers Journal that she hopes to see the loan scheme fully operational by March this year.

    Financial institutions have until 11 February to submit their applications to become lending partners.

    Previous scheme

    Under the previous low-cost loan scheme, the interest rate was set at 2.95%, with loan terms available between 18 months and three years.

    A total fund of €150m was available, with roughly €145m drawn down by farmers. By October last year, some €47.5m had been repaid.

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    Listen: low-cost loans to land in March

    Where is the low-interest loan fund?