Category Archives: Farming

Angry farmers confront Cabinet over collapsing beef prices

More than 600 descend on Cork venue where Taoiseach and Ministers arriving for a meeting.

Sligo News File.

The government today found out how bad things in rural Ireland are when more than 600 farmers hit them with a powerful protest outside the venue in Cork where the Cabinet had decided to assemble for a meeting.

Some 75,000 beef producers at the heart of the rural economy are struggling to survive as prices plummet to an impossible low.

Pleadings by the Taoiseach that the government was aware of the plight of the country’s beef farmers didn’t assuage the anger of the crowd.

The scale of the heckling showed the protestors were in no mood to be fobbed off with sugary claptrap or more empty promises; they’ve had years of that kind of thing.

‘Where’s the beef, ya vegan’ shouted one with the evident intention of the message being picked up by Varadkar, a message to which reportedly he later replied, for what it was worth, that he was ‘very much an omnivore.’

Varadkar, reports say, attributed the worsening conditions in the beef sector to Brexit, weather conditions and an oversupply of beef.

As far as known, there was no comment from the man holding the brief for rural issues, Michael Ring.

The Taoiseach insisted that the government wanted to do more for the farming sector. They also had already made a submission to the European Commission regarding what they might be able to do to provide additional income supports to the industry.

Farmers are demanding a €100m support package for the beef sector 

Fianna Fail foreboding over Brexit

Plans for agri-food tariffs ‘disastrous.’

Sligo News File.

Fianna Fail claims that plans to introduce new arrangements for the border and tariffs on products being exported from the Republic to Britain will have “massive ramifications on the Republic’s agri-food sector if allowed to be introduced.

“I sincerely hope that this is a provocative attempt to persuade MPs to vote against a no deal scenario when they are asked over the next 24 hours in Westminster,” said a spokesman for the party.

“The EU will obviously have to respond to the plans to allow goods to travel freely between the Republic and Northern Ireland in the short term and the Irish government will have to elaborate on their own plans to respond to this plan. The uncertainty is causing massive anxiety with businesses both North and South and will cost jobs soon if not sorted out.”

The government should publish the likely impact of the tariffs and put a plan in place to respond, the spokesman added.

A Leinster-based farm body has said the consensus among farm organisations is that a no-deal Brexit “would be a disaster.”

The IFA says it would be a “disastrous scenario” if a tariff regime is imposed on Irish food products.

Brexit sparking turmoil in the farming sector

‘Government aid will not cover losses.’

Sligo News File.

State aid will not cover losses incurred by beef farmers in the event of a no-deal Brexit and the imposition of tariffs on Irish beef imports to Britain.

That’s the view of a Leinster-based farm body who have indicated that the government will have to seek a substantial EU aid package.

The IFA is of a similar mindset stating that the State aid limit will be inadequate.

President of the association said that “in a ‘no deal’ Brexit, State Aid limited to €8,300 per year will not be enough given the losses that farmers have already encountered and
will be facing in such a scenario.

“Talking about solidarity between the EU-27 is fine but meaningless unless it is backed up by extra funds,” he added

Fianna Fail TD calls on government partners to give farmers more money now

Risk of no deal Brexit ‘real possibility.’

Sligo News File.

Fianna Fail wants its Fine Gael-led government partners to roll out more money to farmers.

Party TD Marc MacSharry said Agriculture Minister Michael Creed “must fulfil his commitment that money would be available to protect those in our biggest indigenous sector.

“Grants should be made available now in advance of Brexit to allow those in the sector to prepare,” he stressed.

“There are 35 days until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU and at this juncture, the risk of a no deal Brexit is a very real possibility.

“If this comes to pass and Irish beef is forced to compete in the UK market against cheaper imports from other countries thousands of jobs will be lost in both islands,” he warned.

Every effort must be made to safeguard this industry and, he added “the hundreds of thousands of people employed in it, both directly and indirectly.

“We are neglected by the government in the North West region and are most at risk from the consequences of a no deal Brexit.”

Woman Farmer of Year get role in Leinster farm organisation

‘Voice of women in agriculture hasn’t been heard.’

Sligo News File.

Mona Donoghue Concannon has been elected Connacht Vice President of the Offaly-based ICSA.

She has reportedly stated that for too long the voice of women in agriculture hasn’t been heard.

Meanwhile, IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed reject the proposal to impose a 30-day pre-movement TB test on animals in the Delegated Acts under the New EU Animal Health Law.

He said the implementation of the control on animal movements would impact severely on the regular trade for cattle and add unnecessary costs to the TB programme.

2017 UK Market for Irish agri-food products worth €5.2 billion – Creed

‘Range of measures to help agri sectors to deal with the impacts of Brexit.’

Sligo News File.

The value of the UK market for agri-food products was confirmed by Michael Creed, the agriculture Minister following a Dail query posted by Jackie Cahill, TD.

Total exports to the UK market amounted, he said to €5.2 billion in 2017. Some 48% of Ireland’s 2017beef exports, valued at €1,162 million, were shipped to Britain.

“Dairy exports from Ireland in 2017 were valued at €4,646m, of which 21 per cent (€997m) were sent to the UK. However, certain dairy exports (cheddar & other cheeses for example) rely almost entirely on the UK market.

“Under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs and duty rates for certain beef products are equivalent to a 70% tariff rate and for certain
dairy products up to the equivalent of a 50% tariff rate

“Retention of the UK market for the dairy and beef industry is a key component of the Government’s response to Brexit. In addition, I have introduced a range of measures to help these sectors to deal with the impacts of Brexit –

” – In Budget 2017, a farm-gate business costs reduction measure in order to enhance competitiveness, including a €150m low-cost loan scheme;

” – In Budget 2018, a €50m, dedicated Brexit package which included a contribution to a €300m (joint DAFM/DBEI) ‘Brexit Loan Scheme’, at least 40% of which is available to food businesses.

” – In Budget 2019, a €78m Brexit package for farmers, fishermen, food SMEs and to cover additional costs related to Brexit.

“It is also important to point out that the additional funding that I have provided to Bord Bia since the UK referendum – a total of €19.5 million – is being used, among other things, to provide direct support and advice to individual companies in relation to market diversification and to compile its market prioritisation reports, which are informing its own and my Department’s work in this area.

“In addition, I have met with the chief executives of all of the major British retailers to impress upon them the commitment of Irish suppliers in continuing to supply the UK market post-Brexit.

“More generally, the pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agri-food exports, including dairy and beef exports, is an ongoing and central component of the strategic development of the agri-food sector, as evidenced by its placement right at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development over the coming years,” he added

Dail hears beef farmers earning less than €200 a week

Price drop of €100 per head.

Sligo News File.

Beef farming is at rock bottom.

Michael Creed, TD,
Minister for Agriculture

Deputy Aindrias Moynihan told the Dail that half of the country’s beef farmers are earning less than €10,000 a year, three quarters less than  €20,000 and in the past year prices have flopped by upwards of €100 per head.

He said: “There is phenomenal pressure, on top of which is Brexit which also exerts huge pressure. Beef farmers believe their needs are not being met.”

Minister Michael Creed said he was conscious that 2018 was a difficult year for the suckler beef sector, “particularly in terms of unprecedented weather events which resulted in increased input costs owing to fodder shortages. We must also acknowledge the exposure of the sector to Brexit impacts.”

He then went on to list government measures designed to help the beleaguered industry.

€20 million for a new beef environmental efficiency pilot scheme focussed on carbon efficiency

€23 million ANC increase

GLAS, ANCs and knowledge transfer programme.

Suckler cow farmers also benefit from the basic payment scheme and greening payments under Pillar 1 of the CAP.

He strongly felt that the range of supports available to suckler cow farmers “is appropriate for the continued development of the sector.”

Irish livestock trade hit as Turkey suspends live cattle imports

Ban to run for at least two months.

Sligo News File

Ireland’s livestock trade has suffered a setback with Turkey announcing a suspension of live cattle imports.


The ban will remain in place for at least a couple of months, according to An Bord Bia.

Turkey says the move aims to protect their country’s producers amid concerns about an oversupply of beef.

Ireland exported some 13,000 cattle to Turkey in 2018, a drop on the previous year’s figure of 30,000.

Meanwhile, the Lancet, a medical journal, has stirred up a wave of anger with a report that diets containing meat could prove as damaging as smoking to human health.

A bunch of food scientists have seemingly come up with the finding following which it has been recommended that people minimise their intake of beef, lamb, pork and potato.

However, the report is being regarded by some as over the top. A top American cardiologist has said meat should make up about one-third of the plate.