Declan Breathnach TD Louth (and East Meath)
29th March  2019

Beef Farmers in crisis in Louth and elsewhere and need Government support – Breathnach

– Minister takes on board suggestion by Breathnach that Beef Crisis could be alleviated by forward contract pricing –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach spoke in the Dáil on a Fianna Fáil Motion on the beef crisis in agriculture.

“The farming community is not seeking a handout; it is seeking the Minister’s commitment to support them, and to explore the necessary measures to make it viable.

“The crisis in our beef industry has been severely compounded by stock numbers and the uncertainty of Brexit.  In 2018 we had the highest kill in 15 years, with 1.8 million cattle, 80,000 more than in 2017.

“Obviously those increased numbers have had an impact on both supply and demand.  The perfect storm has been brewing and the Minister has known about it for a long time.

“From a farmer’s perspective, a poultry farmer in Poland can fix his price 12 months in advance.  A grain farmer in Ireland can forward sell his grain.  The relative success of the dairy sector in Ireland in the past five years has been based on farmers knowing well in advance the price per litre.  I firmly believe it is time for the beef manufacturers and the beef producers to become friends and deliver what is needed for this industry, which is forward pricing.

“Minister Creed in the Dáil said that he agreed wholeheartedly with my suggestion regarding forward pricing.  He outlined how producer organisations, negotiated contracts and strengthening the position of farmers in the supply chain will be explored.

“The Minister outlined that in this regard his Department has approved a number of organisations to act as facilitators for producer organisations.

“It is as simple as this, if a farmer has price certainty in expectation from calf to beef he can adjust his cost base.  This is achievable.  The main stakeholders, the beef producers and manufacturers and the purchasers are indicating that they are up to doing this.  What is needed is proper coordination and assistance from the Department and the representative farming groupings to make it happen.

-Ends-

Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2 (Declan – 087 2697638) (T) 01 6183549 (Email)  declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie