As public meetings continue around the country, two suckler farmers shared their thoughts on the rules proposed by the European Commission to allow a €100m Brexit support fund for beef farmers.

John Keena, Ferbane, Co Offaly

"It should be straightforward: the people that lost money especially in 2019 took a big hit. As a suckler farmer, I have seen it at the ringside. Selling weanlings from 300kg to 450kg, they were certainly taking a hit of €100/hd to €150/hd back on other years. In fairness to the guys buying them, if they were going on to fatten them, they didn’t have the buying power either."

"It’s very important that the guys buying the weanlings are compensated as well, but there should be some for the suckler cow because, if not, the good weanlings won’t be there and this is where the export of prime beef is coming from. It should be for prime beef cattle, I certainly wouldn’t include any cows.

"It’s totally ridiculous that they came out to say there should be a reduction. We should keep our suckler herd because certain parts of the country and certain people are not able to go into dairying and it’s vital for the whole economy."

Joseph Woulfe, Spanish Point, Co Clare

"We don’t know the details yet so it’s hard to comment. I can say, if we reduce suckler cows but increase dairy cows, then nothing will have changed in terms of tonnes of beef produced.

"More Beef Summits should be held around the country to get farmers’ views. There are 4,500 suckler farmers in Co Clare alone."

Read more in this week's Irish Farmers Journal.

  • Additional reporting by Paul Mooney.
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