Government not dealing with scale of beef crisis – Brian Stanley TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Brian Stanley TD has called on the Government to take serious the concerns of beef farmers as they face a perfect storm of issues within the beef sector.
Speaking this afternoon, Deputy Stanley said:
“The Government must begin to deal with the ever growing beef crisis which Irish farmers are facing.
“Beef farmers are currently caught in a perfect storm of issues and the Government is doing very little to help.
“The most immediate issue being the fact that beef farmers are being squeezed by factories to accept a price per kilo that is simply unsustainable; as it doesn’t even cover production costs. This is just the economic reality.
“Farmers are also trying to recover from debts they incurred last winter and spring following the poor 2018 fodder year where they had to borrow to buy feed to finish cattle.
“In response to the crisis Sinn Féin is calling for the early payment of the Beef Exceptional Aid Measures (BEAM). Sinn Féin believes that this must happen as a matter of urgency and it must be released first to those farmers who need it the most.
“Legislation is also required to ensure that measures are put in place to ensure that at all times there is an arm’s-length contractual relationship between a Beef processor and a Beef producer to prohibit a producer from controlling or influencing the supply of cattle through feedlots.
“Secondly, we must also guarantee the establishment of an Irish Meat Market Observatory that includes pricing data, similar to that of dairy products. This will provide much needed transparency in a number of areas including the area of price indexing.
“What beef farmers do not need is for Minister Creed to come out last week and say that “drastic measures may be necessary” in response to the Climate Advisory Council’s recent report which called for a 50% reduction in the national suckler herd by 2030. Such comments only cause further concern and fear in the beef sector.
“However, such a comment is very much in keeping with Fine Gael’s backing for the nonsensical Mercosur deal which will see the national herd reduced in Ireland but will see the importation of beef from South America that has a higher output of carbon in its production and in its transportation.
“The beef sector is currently facing a major crisis. It is essential that we begin to put in place the financial and legislative measures to ensure that there is a sustainable future for Irish beef farmers.”