The IFA's livestock chair Brendan Golden has said that the outgoing Teagasc director has shown an appalling lack of respect for the suckler beef sector.

Farmers will be very surprised to hear that Gerry Boyle say that Teagasc was ‘strongly advocating’ switching from beef production to dairy beef production, said Golden.

Golden was adamant: “We need Teagasc to clarify their position urgently.

'Disregard'

“It is appalling that a senior industry figure would show such disregard for a farm sector that is unique in the scale of its significance in every county,” he said.

“100,000 farmers are involved in beef production. To dismiss them in such a cavalier fashion shows very poor judgement,” added Golden

“Of all people, Gerry Boyle should know the value of the beef suckler sector to the rural economy.

“As an economist, he should also know the wider benefits of the livestock sector in towns and villages across the country,” he said.

Support

Golden said that what farmers expect to hear from Teagasc is some support for our suckler herd, which he explained contributes to beef exports worth €2bn.

“Our pre-Budget submission has a target of €300 per suckler cow, said Golden, adding, “If the government is serious about maintaining the beef sector, then it has to provide funding for beef farmers.”

Golden said that the export markets value the quality beef that Irish farmers produce and he said that the exports will continue if policies are implanted that bring beef farmers towards viability.