A proposed cap on the suckler herd by the Department of Agriculture is “an attempt to sacrifice the Irish suckler herd to benefit other sectors”, the recently formed Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA) has said.
The group has called on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to clarify what stakeholder consultation has taken place on capping or reduction to the suckler herd.
As reported by the Irish Farmers Journal, the Department’s proposed new suckler scheme - the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme - includes a condition that farmers who take part in the scheme cannot increase their cow numbers.
“[The] IBLA requests a detailed explanation on the rationale behind this attempt to cap the suckler herd, who proposed it and who agreed to it,” a spokesperson for the group said.
“The Irish suckler herd is the backbone of rural Ireland and its communities and is a vital element of our rural circular economy.
“We find it completely underhanded that there was no mention of this measure at [Thursday's] suckler committee meeting or at the recent sitting of the beef taskforce.”
The spokesman added: “This attempt to cap the Irish suckler herd will not be accepted by Irish suckler farmers. There will be no generational renewal in the beef sector with this [Department of Agriculture] proposal.
We encourage every farmer across the length and breadth of this country to contact your TDs and public representatives and voice your outrage
“We encourage every farmer across the length and breadth of this country to contact your TDs and public representatives and voice your outrage at this course of action. Rural Ireland has a voice and it must be used.”
“If carbon quotas are to be applied to the industry, they must apply to all within the industry and not discriminate one sector over another - that would simply be unjust and will not be accepted,” the statement continued.
“No farm organisation claiming to represent the beef industry could support or allow this measure being introduced in any format and we are asking all farm organisations to publicly declare their position on this matter.”