Beef Sheep Suckler RuralDevelopment CAP



The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association has a huge membership base in the beef sector, and works hard to represent beef farmers and their interests both in Ireland and at EU level.

The ICSA is fighting for a commitment from beef processors to a long-term, sustainable margin for beef farmers.  ICSA continues to challenge processors regarding key issues such as weight and age restrictions as well as the movement of cattle. On your behalf ICSA challenges all deductions from your factory cheque, be it penalties, insurance, post-mortem contingency charge or levies. Remember, ICSA takes no levies.

ICSA is demanding protection of our valuable live exports and that Government would increase their efforts to secure new markets for live exports. ICSA has also been working to solve the labelling blockage of live exports to NI and GB.

ICSA is committed to defending the Irish beef industry from the looming threats of several international trade deals, such as Mercosur and TTIP. ICSA has made it clear in Brussels that the Irish beef sector is very vulnerable. The threat of these trade deals  coming together with concessions repeatedly being conceded on beef imports is an appalling vista for the beef sector.

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Edmund Graham

ICSA Beef Committee

Hailing from Ballyleck in Co Monaghan,Edmund Graham focuses primarily on his weanling to beef and stores to beef enterprises.

“Farmer trust in the grid system continues to be a major issue.The system is outdated and needs to be replaced with a model that that fully utilises modern digital technology.“Pushing on with live exports and gaining access to new markets is crucial.“It is unthinkable for beef quotas to be considered in the Mercosur trade talks with continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Any concession would show a reckless disregard for the beef sector.”


The ICSA is committed to representing the interests of Irish sheep farmers in the strongest possible way at home and abroad.  For many years, the national flock was in decline; we have seen recently that the fall has stopped.  ICSA is now concerned that the sector be stabilised and made attractive to young, energetic farmers.

ICSA believes that Ireland needs to be careful that any increase in sheep production is in response to an increased demand on UK and European markets.  We also want to see an end to the severe upper weight limits being imposed by the meat factories, which seriously erode sheep farmers’ profits.

ICSA is seeking a Government commitment for better and more targeted funding for the sheep sector under the Rural Development Programme. We are also keen to ensure that the new EID regulations do not impose any extra costs or bureaucratic burden on Irish farmers and are particularly adamant that there is no justification for electronic tagging of lambs going direct to slaughter. ICSA is also committed to removing all remaining blockages of live sheep exports.

ICSA, in partnership with Chanelle Veterinary held their annual Spring Sheep Seminars in February 2016. These events took place in Mountbellew Agricultural College in Galway and also in Ballybofey, Co. Donegal. The events were very successful and exemplifies the Association’s commitment to re-energising the sector and making sure it is sustainable in the long term.


Sean McNamara profile Sean McNamara

ICSA Sheep Committee

Farming in Lismacaffrey, Co. Westmeath, Sean McNamara previously held the position of sheep vice-chairman and is a long-standing member of the association. 

“In my view, it’s all about family farm profitability. Family drystock farms must become profitable again, and our aim should be to at least achieve the average industrial wage. ICSA firmly believes that farmers should be paid a fair price for their produce and will not stand back as others profiteer massively at the expense of hard working farmers.”


The ICSA is dedicated to strongly representing the interests of Irish suckler farmers.  It is clear that a strong suckler sector, producing quality weanlings is crucial to a strong beef industry; ICSA believes suckler farmers need to be supported as much as possible to maintain the strength of the sector.

A strong beef price is vital to the success of the farmer selling weanlings; ICSA’s work to ensure a long-term, sustainable margin for beef producers is also key to the long-term viability of suckler farms.

ICSA is hugely active in the area of knowledge transfer among suckler farmers.  The Association regularly hosts suckler farm open days in various parts of the country, which attract large crowds and generate very positive feedback, both from an educational and social point of view.  We also keep our members informed of any changes to the terms of the BDGP scheme and issue reminders of how to keep within the rules of the scheme to safeguard payment.

ICSA Suckler chair Ger o'Brien Ger O’Brien

ICSA suckler Committee:

Hailing from Mallardstown near Callan, Mr O’Brien runs a suckler enterprise with 60 cows and works part-time as a linear scoring technician and as an AI technician. The priority for the  suckler committee is to ensure the schemes in CAP Pillar 2 deliver more support for suckler farmers and are matched with stronger national co-funding. In particular we need to see a new BDGP scheme based on breeding quality beef using terminal and maternal sires, export grade weanlings and valuable cows both as calf producers and cull cows.

ICSA also wants to see the BEEP scheme continued with a with higher payment per head and will the demanding that live exports are fully supported by any incoming Government. These are all required to ensure the survival of the suckler sector.

In addition ICSA wants to see a national policy devised for the international promotion of suckler beef as a niche product with the objective of increasing returns to producers. This would include a marketing strategy for suckler beef and PGI status specifically for sucklers.


Rural Development

The ICSA is committed to furthering the cause of rural development in Ireland, and giving strong voice to the issues that affect rural dwellers across the country.  These issues include, cuts to the Disadvantaged Area Scheme, access to third level education, rural isolation and mental health in farming,rural crime, and discussions around the ongoing CAP reform talks.

ICSA is fighting to ensure fair distribution of Pillar 2 funds through the Rural Development Programme to support the drystock sectors. ICSA is lobbying for an improved Rural Development Programme which delivers money to farmers not professionals. We are demanding workable GLAS options for farmers saying NO to unfair LPIS penalties – ICSA firmly believes that no farmer should be penalised for maintaining land that had previously been told was eligible . ICSA is absolutely opposed to any five-year retrospective penalties and are currently involved in a legal challenge to such penalties.

ICSA is also seeking a fair deal for hen harrier and other designated farmers – every designated hectare must be compensated.

ICSA’s Rural Development committee, under the direction of Mr Farrell, are also committed to tackling many issue facing rural communities on a daily basis including; rural crime, mental health and rural isolation in farming and the financial pressures that are currently facing many farmers.


Tim Farrell Tim Farrell

ICSA Rural Development Committee:

Hailing from Taughmaconnell, Co Roscommon Mr Farrell is a suckler farmer who believes passionately that rural communities should be a safe and viable place to live and prosper.

Mr Farrell said, “It is important for ICSA to work for all our members and the communities in which they live. We listen to farmers concerns and address the real issues affecting their lives.”