Many cattle farmers would love to be able to forget the last six months or so.

It all started with a major re-ranking of beef bull breeds through changes that the ICBF had implemented via its new beef indexes in the November evaluation run.

Since then, we have had almost four months of backwards and forwards from ICBF, the Department of Agriculture and farmers to reach a point this week where basically everything in relation to the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) goes back to the September evaluation run.

Essentially, it means the new beef indexes will have no impact on bull eligibility in SCEP.

The whole debacle has dented farmer confidence in ICBF and the index figures.

As the saying goes, trust can be broken in seconds but takes years to heal.

When you hear of farmers lifting chairs to hurl at the top table in Roscommon last week where the ICBF issues were being discussed at an IFA meeting, you know that farmers feel they are at breaking point, with nobody listening.


Throw in delayed ACRES payments, nitrates issues and a poor spring and it all elevates the pressure.

My ears have also heard temperatures, and voices, were raised in Cavan County Council’s chamber on Monday as part of an IFA protest.

Ulster/North Leinster regional chair Frank Brady addressed the council’s monthly meeting as part of the IFA protest. I understand all the county councillors stuck to the script in support of farmers, but independent councillor Shane P. O’Reilly fired a shot at the IFA for agreeing to the 25% agricultural emissions reduction.

While O’Reilly might have fired a shot, Brady rounded on O’Reilly in front of the chamber stating that only for the IFA, the reduction would have been 30%.

He also reminded the councillors present that it was a lot of Cavan farmers who put them in their seats and if they didn’t listen to the swell in the countryside, half of them would be gone.


Our politicians would do well to listen, take the temperature of farmers and act accordingly. But is anybody really listening?

You might say Eddie Punch is. He has listened to beef and sheep farmers for the last 25 years in his role with the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association.

It seems he feels now is the right time to throw his name in the hat for a job in Europe in the Ireland South constituency.

A lot of livestock farmers might feel the Clareman is just what Brussels needs.