The Food Vision sheep group must meet “without delay” as farmers continue to face high costs and low prices, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) has warned.

ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara has said he is appalled by the lack of urgency at Government level around dealing with the worsening “crisis” in the sheep sector.

“A sheep vision group was established last year, but this group has still never met. This is disgraceful given what is currently going on in the sector.

“Minister McConalogue must get this group going and he must do it without delay,” he said.

‘Not getting enough’

McNamara highlighted that as a sector, sheep farmers are not getting enough for their product and warned that they are not getting enough supports from Government.

“The clock is now ticking for sheep farmers because they cannot see a way to keep producing if all they are doing is losing money hand over fist.

Sheep farmers saw their margin per ewe fall 80% in 2022, says ICSA. \ Ramona Farrelly

“Teagasc have said the net margin per ewe in 2022 was just €7, down from €39 per ewe the previous year. That is a drop of over 80% at a time when our costs have gone through the roof.

“We were low income in 2021, but we are no income now and we cannot survive as a sector without serious intervention,” he said.

Plan needed

The ICSA sheep chair suggested that “processors, retailers and Department of Agriculture officials all need to get around the table with sheep farmer representatives and plot a way forward”.

“The Minister has a responsibility to make this happen. He needs to get the sheep vision group going and find a way of keeping sheep farming viable,” he said.

Read more

Sheep mart prices: increased factory appetite evident in sales

Net margin per ewe falls to just €7/head in 2022