Weekly podcast: low-cost loans, Brexit threat and farm plastic recycling costs
In this week's podcast, we reveal the start date for low-cost loans, find out why farm plastic recycling fees are going up and discuss a no-deal Brexit in the Republic, Northern Ireland and the UK.

 

Click here to download this week's podcast.

In an exclusive interview, Minister Heather Humphreys confirmed that the long-awaited low-cost loan scheme will be made available in March.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed discussed how Irish agri food exports performed in 2018 with Phelim O'Neill.

Bord Bia launched its annual Export and Performance Review for 2018 on Wednesday morning. Odile Evans talked to the CEO of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy, and IFA President Joe Healy about the figures.

Liam Moloney, general manager of Irish Farm Film Producers Group, tells Irish Farmers Journal news correspondent Thomas Hubert why the fees to have silage wrap recycled are going up by €5 per 500kg this year.

Vice chair of the Beef Plan Movement Hugh Doyle talks about future plans for the organisation and explains why he's critical of Bord Bia.

Amy Forde spoke to Sligo IFA chair JP Cowley after a meeting about CAP, ANCs and the issues affecting farmers.

The Renewable Heat Association is continuing to challenge the Department for the Economy over cuts to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs in NI.

Brexit was a key topic of discussion at the first of six roadshows organised by the Ulster Farmers' Union across NI this month.

Senator and farmer Ian Marshall discussed Brexit, the next CAP and environmental challenges with Thomas Hubert this week.

Peter McCann spoke to several speakers and delegates from last week’s Oxford Farming conference in England, including Defra Farming Minister George Eustice and NFU deputy president Guy Smith.

Missed the previous episodes of the podcast? Catch up here!

Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed
Imposing tariffs on exports would "cripple trade", meat and dairy factory representatives have warned.

Beef and dairy bosses braced for a hard Brexit have handed a list of demands to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

With 65 days remaining to salvage a Brexit deal, the nightmare scenario of a no-deal is becoming ever more likely.

A delegation including Aurivo’s Aaron Forde, ABP’s Martin Kane, Larry Murrin of Dawn Farms Foods, Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland and Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, met with Minister Creed on Tuesday.

Dairy co-ops want dual British-Irish status for Northern Ireland milk, export refunds and other trade supports. They called for a freeze on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit and direct income aid for farmers.

Meat factory representatives warned that if tariffs are imposed on exports to the UK “it would cripple trade”, with the additional danger of sterling devaluation in a no-deal outcome.

They called for extra resources to ensure speedy border checks and increased ferry capacity and routes for direct shipping to the continent.

While European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan reassured farmers Brussels is poised to swoop to their aid, a Commission spokesman confirmed a hard border is inevitable unless the British reach an agreement with the EU or delay their withdrawal.

Read more

No-deal Brexit to add 21c/l in cheddar processing costs

EU 'stands ready' to support farmers - Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has assured farmers that Europe is planning for all possible outcomes from Brexit negotiations.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has moved to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to intervene in markets to protect prices in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We have to prepare for the worst. The European Union stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit,” Commissioner Hogan said, addressing a crowd of more than 250 farmers at the Kilkenny IFA annual dinner dance on Saturday night.

“We have the tools ready to intervene, including Aid to Private Storage, intervention and a revision of state aid rules,” he added.

Slow

His words will help give farmers comfort that, while Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been slow to commit to supports, plans for a safety net at EU level are well advanced.

Hogan reassured farmers that the EU is ready for all scenarios, but warned that the Government must also be ready and ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure products can continue to move through ports.

Gloomy

While a no-deal Brexit paints a gloomy picture, vice president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is reminding farmers that it could be avoided if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. But, she says, plans are being put in place to deal with a no-deal scenario.

“There are deep concerns about the consequences,” McGuinness told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We will need to be looking at how you are going to support a vulnerable sector, that will call for money.

"All of those things will have to be discussed in the short period of time before the United Kingdom leaves.”

Lamb prices rocketing ahead
The trade for all types of lamb is strong currently boosting farmers' confidence in the sector.

Factory agents are scouring the country in the hunt for slaughter-fit lambs.

Prices have hardened significantly over the past number of weeks.

Farmers are securing €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg, with specialised feeders negotiating in excess of €5.40/kg for lambs.

The mart trade is booming for all types of lambs currently.

Fleshed factory-fit lambs are selling over €120/head, with €125/head common for lambs weighing over 50kg.

The store lamb trade is on fire, with prices of €2.50/kg to €2.80/kg and higher being recognised for hill-bred lambs.