Government must take action to defend beef farmers – Martin Kenny
Sinn Féin By Election Candidate Martin Kenny has argued that “It is time for the government to take action to defend beef farmers before our industry is destroyed by the action of unaccountable beef barons”. Speaking after attending the Ploughing Championship during the week, Cllr Kenny said:
“This week I met with countless beef farmers who outlined to me the various practices that they have been forced to tolerate from the beef barons who run the industry.
“It seems that they are unaccountable and can do what they like to manipulate the market. There are farmers who paid high prices for cattle last year who are getting crucified by the prices they are getting for them this year. Many farmers are getting paid up to €200 less per animal compared to last year.
“Every beef farmer who spoke to me here can point to manipulation and sharp manoeuvring which is destroying the industry. The processors are putting a sell by date on live cattle.
“Beef farmers are at their wits end as they continue to produce a high quality product to specific standards yet continue to see the price paid for the same product plummet year on year.
“A 2013 report by Teagasc has confirmed that the income of cattle farmers has reduced between 12% and 22% with the average family income in this category now at very low levels between €9,469 and €15,595 depending on the production system. This is despite the fact that production costs have seen an average increase of 7% with an increase in feed costs of between 44% and 95%.
“There must be regulation imposed on the processors before more farmers are forced out of beef and this valuable industry is lost altogether.
“I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture to intervene immediately to ensure that the interests of beef farmers are adequately protected.”