Minister must support beef finishers with specific CAP payment – Graham

‘…payments have been steadily pared back to the extent that most beef finishing operations are now losing money.’

Edmund Graham, chairman ICSA Beef Committee

ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham has called on Minister McConalogue not to forget that beef finishers need to be recognised with a specific payment in the CAP reform. “With all the focus on climate change and the targets that will be set for the farming sector, it is a no-brainer to include funding for a beef carbon efficiency payment as set out in the ICSA CAP plan.

“Beef finishers are the sector that are going to be decimated by the flattening of payments in the CAP. Originally, beef finishers were the sector that were targeted for CAP payments with the dismantling of price supports and export refunds. But over recent years, their payments have been steadily pared back to the extent that most beef finishing operations are now losing money.

“If there are no beef finishers, then neither dairy farming nor suckler farming are sustainable in their current format. This has to be a key problem that needs addressing in the CAP strategy.

“The ICSA proposal is also a critical strategic response to the need to address climate change, both in terms of national emissions targets and also in terms of the need to meet EU objectives in our CAP plan. Like it or not, the EU Green Deal is going to put pressure on Ireland, and it makes a lot of sense to reduce emissions by finishing cattle earlier. But this won’t happen if the right incentives are not in place, and these incentives must be targeted at reasonable scale, commercial beef farmers.

“That’s why the Minister must look very carefully at the ICSA proposal for a €100/head payment on up to 150 cattle for finishing bulls, steers and heifers at an earlier age. This can be funded as set out in the ICSA plan but it will require that the Minister shows a commitment to our beef sector. It is also completely in accordance with the national ag-climatise strategy, so it really is a win-win proposal.”