IFA members are “free to make their own decisions” regarding the current factory protests and to withhold their cattle and sheep, the organisation has said.

“However, farmers who need to sell their cattle or sheep should be allowed to do so,” it added.

The IFA wrote to the Beef Plan Movement on 10 July, making it clear that it was “in favour of farmer unity" and "would be happy to engage”.

The association added that it has not received a reply to date.

Income crisis

The beef and farm income crisis was debated by the IFA national council on 19 July. IFA President Joe Healy said several different strategies were discussed.

The council weighed up factors including the current beef price and depressed market conditions across Europe and in the UK, and the increasing risk of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

“While the Council fully understands the frustration and anger of beef farmers, the view was that the best strategy at this time to get further meaningful results for our members is to continue to focus our lobbying efforts on the EU institutions and the Irish Government,” Healy said.

“This approach secured €100m, which will be very welcome for suckler and beef farmers despite the inclusion of some unnecessary restrictions,” he said.

The IFA is seeking:

  • An immediate ban on all substandard South American beef imports.
  • A further fund to compensate farmers who supplied cattle post the 12 May 2019 cut off point for the €100m fund and who are currently losing €4m per week due to low beef prices.
  • €1bn Brexit fund of market supports and direct aid for farmers.
  • A campaign to promote our environmentally sustainable EU beef production.