QUOTES FOR SPRING LAMB AN INSULT TO HARD WORKING SHEEP FARMERS

14 MAY 2019

ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara has said factory quotes of €6/kg for spring lamb at this time of the year is a real slap in the face for sheep farmers. “This time last year factories were quoting €7/kg for the same product. This is the minimum the spring lamb sector needs to make it viable and for early lamb production to be sustained. Yet, here we are again, factories failing pay out an adequate price for this highly specialised premium product,” he said.

“It was also this time last year that we were promised the sun, moon and stars if we agreed to EID tagging. So we’ve increased our costs but it hasn’t made a jot of difference to the price we’re getting. Processors are just continuing to substitute Irish lamb with cheap lamb and lamb products imported from the UK. It’s a cynical tactic to keep a lid on the price paid out to farmers here.”

“It is disgraceful way to treat sheep farmers who have been planning and working all the hours in the depths of winter to ensure the supply is there to meet demand at this peak time. €7/kg is the absolute minimum needed for farmers to make any sort of return on their investment. We’ll all be driven out of business at this rate.”

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DECENT REPS TYPE SCHEME NEEDED, NOT COUPLED PAYMENTS – ICSA

14 MAY 2019

ICSA suckler chair John Halley has said that one decent REPS type scheme is what’s required to put money back in suckler farmers’ pockets. “Suckler farmers are fed up of the current array of schemes which are just not delivering. There are too many terms and conditions attached and they are of no real benefit financially to farmers at the end of the day. Farmers are sick and tired of talking shops; the time has come for action,” he said.

“Suckler farmers do not want a scheme where state bodies are telling them what kind of cow to breed. They do not want a scheme where they are being pushed towards half bred cows from the dairy herd for replacements. But they also don’t want a scheme that simply allows meat factories to keep prices low in the knowledge that suckler farmers are locked into a scheme that guarantees supplies of loss-making cattle.”

“Meat Industry Ireland’s call for a coupled payment for suckler cows is no surprise. The meat industry wants a coupled payment so that farmers continue to produce more and more cattle at a price less than the cost of production. It’s really that simple and it has always been the policy of the meat industry.”

“Farmers need to be very wary of falling for this misguided proposal. If the meat industry wants sucklers, they should pay a fair price. A coupled payment is a cop-out by the meat industry to keep farmers losing money on production. Farm organisations that support the meat industry proposals need to look at basic economic principles. When we had decoupled payments, beef price was €2.50/kg.”

“When you hear the meat industry looking for a coupled payment you should know it’s because they are seeing dollar signs. It’s clear that current problems will not be solved when farmers are desperately trying to get cattle into factories because supply is exceeding demand in markets that can afford a viable price.”

“There is no country in Europe that gives a €200 coupled payment per suckler cow. But if we do close down other schemes to fund a new scheme, we need to be very precise about devising a scheme that puts real money into the pockets of the farmer. The biggest loss to cattle and sheep farmers was the old REPS scheme where farmers typically got up to €10,000 for providing a tidy, biodiverse landscape which gave multiple benefits to rural economies. In reality, the CAP budget needs to be increased in line with inflation. For too long politicians have accepted an ongoing erosion of the value of CAP supports in real terms and then they wonder why farmers are angry. No other sector would accept payments which have not increased in line with inflation since the 1990s.”

“It is now time for the Government to wake up to the threat faced by the suckler and beef sectors. We need a concerted effort to get more and more live exports and of course, ICSA is demanding a Brexit rescue package from the EU to cover losses sustained over the past few months. Unless something is done soon, there will be no suckler sector in a few years’ time.”

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GRILL THE CANDIDATES AT ICSA MEP HUSTINGS IN CHARLEVILLE

13 MAY 2019

ICSA Vice President for Munster Dermot Kelleher has said, “There is no point in complaining about politicians if you don’t avail of the opportunity to grill them on the issues that affect you most before casting your all-important vote. The candidates are eager to engage; this is your chance to hear what they have to say.”

Mr Kelleher was speaking in advance of an ICSA hustings featuring candidates in the upcoming European elections from the Ireland South constituency. The event will take place tomorrow night, Tuesday 14 May, in the Charleville Park Hotel, Charleville, Co Cork and will commence at 8pm.

Candidates confirmed for the hustings include:

Liadh Ní Riada MEP, Billy Kelleher, Malcolm Byrne, Grace O’Sullivan, Liam Minehan, Breda Gardner, Diarmaid O’Flynn and Walter Ryan Purcell.

All are welcome to attend.

For further enquiries, please call ICSA in Portlaoise on 057 8662120 or ICSA Vice President for Munster, Dermot Kelleher on 087 6799178.

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OFFALY ICSA TO HOST OPEN MEETING FEATURING LOCAL CANDIDATES IN THE UPCOMING EUROPEAN & LOCAL ELECTIONS

13 MAY 2019

Offaly ICSA are hosting an open farmer meeting featuring local candidates in the upcoming European and local elections on Friday 17 May. The meeting will take place in Shinrone Community Centre, The Green, Shinrone, Co Offaly at 8pm.

The meeting will also feature John Kenny from Agritech discussing best practice in silage production and silage preservation.

ICSA Offaly chair William Reid said, “All local candidates have been invited to attend to answer questions on local farming and rural issues. The candidates are eager to hear your concerns, whether they be about ANC or the proposed water pipeline, so I would encourage everyone to come along and hear what they have to say before casting your vote.”

All are welcome to attend.

For further enquiries, please call ICSA in Portlaoise on 057 8662120 or ICSA Offaly chair William Reid on 086 8174756.

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WHY DO ALL FACTORIES DELAY QUOTING UNTIL 4PM ON A FRIDAY FOR THE FOLLOWING WEEK?

10 MAY 2019

ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has said that the Competition Authority and the Minister need to explain to farmers why it is that quotes for cattle for the following week are only available from 4pm on a Friday.

We have markets for our beef right around the world and different processors supplying those markets. Why is it that, across the board, quotes for cattle are being given at a uniform time?” he asked.

“Surely, contracts to sell beef to supermarkets are not negotiated at 3pm on a Friday. So why are farmers kept in the dark until 4pm?  Why is it that all factories have exactly the same reluctance to give a straight answer to a straight question?

Mr Graham raised his concerns at Beef Summit held in Ballinasloe yesterday, 9 May.

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ICSA TO HOST MEP HUSTINGS IN CHARLEVILLE

10 MAY 2019

ICSA are hosting an open farmer meeting featuring candidates in the upcoming European elections from the Ireland South constituency on Tuesday next, 14 May. The hustings will take place in the Charleville Park Hotel, Charleville, Co Cork and will commence at 8pm.

ICSA Vice President for Munster Dermot Kelleher said, “The European Parliament plays an ever-increasing role in making the key decisions affecting farming. On Tuesday night you will have the opportunity to grill your MEP candidates on the farming and rural issues that matter most. The candidates are eager to hear your concerns, so I would encourage everyone to come along and hear what they have to say before casting your vote.”

Candidates confirmed for the hustings include:

Liadh Ní Riada MEP, Billy Kelleher, Sheila Nunan, Grace O’Sullivan, Liam Minehan, Breda Gardner, Diarmaid O’Flynn and Walter Ryan Purcell.

All are welcome to attend.

For further enquiries, please call ICSA in Portlaoise on 057 8662120 or ICSA Vice President for Munster, Dermot Kelleher on 087 6799178.

 

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DATE SET FOR ICSA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

9 MAY 2019

ICSA has announced that the election for the position of president will take place on Thursday 27 June in Portlaoise at a meeting of the association’s National Executive.

The closing date for nominations is Friday 24 May.

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TB MEETING TO BE HOSTED BY MONAGHAN ICSA

3 MAY 2019

Monaghan ICSA will host a farmers meeting with special guests from the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine to discuss the current TB situation in Monaghan as well as proposals to reform the TB Eradication Programme. The meeting will take place in the Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan on Wednesday, 8 May. It will commence at 8pm and all farmers are invited to attend.

ICSA Animal Health & Welfare chair Hugh Farrell said, “Q1 figures for 2019 show that the Monaghan area continues to be problematic when it comes to TB. In Monaghan, the rate of reactors per 1,000 tests is 4.57, significantly higher than the current national rate of 1.48. ICSA are pleased to be welcoming senior officials from the department to Monaghan to assess the current situation and to debate the best way forward for the county.”

ICSA Monaghan chair Gareth Graham said, “I would encourage all local farmers to attend. The TB Forum is considering proposals to reform the TB programme. It is important for local farmers to hear about those proposals and have their say.”

Guest speakers for the evening is as follows:

Eoin Ryan

DAFM Senior Superintending Veterinary Inspector

Ruminant Animal Health Division

Peter Monaghan

DAFM Senior Veterinary Inspector, Cavan Office

Hugh Farrell

Chair of ICSA Animal Health & Welfare Committee

Eddie Punch

ICSA General Secretary

For enquiries, please call ICSA on 057 8662120 ICSA or Monaghan chair Gareth Graham on 087 9257531.

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MOVES ON BREXIT SUPPORT PACKAGE FOR BEEF FARMERS WELCOMED BY ICSA

1 MAY 2019

ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has said speculation that the Departure of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has moved on an EU Brexit support package for beef farmers offers a glimmer of hope to the struggling sector. “In recent weeks ICSA has laid out the case for such exceptional aid to both Minister Creed and Commissioner Hogan. The evidence is clear that beef farmers have taken a big Brexit hit already. Losses are running at €4 million a week due to price cuts, and this can only be attributed to Brexit instability,” he said.

Mr Graham insisted that any EU beef support to alleviate the consequences of Brexit must be directed at those who have taken the hit: beef producers. “While we await more detail on the support package sought, ICSA believes that beef processors have made beef farmers carry all of the can when it comes to Brexit instability. Therefore, it is the beef farmer who must be supported by Brussels. Nothing less than €100 per finished animal will do as compensation for hard pressed beef farmers. In fact, the losses by bull beef producers are substantially higher. The most efficient way of dealing with what has happened so far is to pay beef farmers directly.”

“There are no easy solutions to the Brexit mess. One thing is certain: unless there is a real urgency about securing this EU support package for Irish beef farmers, the sector will not survive the ongoing Brexit instability.”

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EID READERS MUST BE INSTALLED BY JUNE DEADLINE – ICSA

26 APRIL 2019

ICSA sheep chairman Sean McNamara has called on the Department of Agriculture to ensure all factories and marts have EID readers in place by the 1 June deadline, at which time all sheep moving off a holding must be identified electronically. “The June deadline is fast approaching. Sheep farmers have had to invest in EID tags since last October, so the least should expect is for factories and marts to be held accountable for reading the tags,” he said.

“In addition, a digital printout must be provided as a matter of course. EID was sold to sheep farmers on the basis that cumbersome paperwork would be eliminated. I see absolutely no urgency of the part of factories to comply with this so far.”

“I have met with Minister Creed on this issue and was assured that 100% of EID tags will be read after the June deadline. However, if it was never compulsory for marts and factories to install EID readers and it’s still not compulsory for them to do so, it remains to be seen if this will happen.”

“Factories have never had to read 100% of lambs presented for slaughter and the appetite is just not there to do it now. It will be up to the Department of Agriculture if there will be any repercussions for those marts and factories who don’t install the necessary readers by June. In the meantime it’s the ones that can least afford it, the sheep farmers, who are bearing all the cost, and for what?”

“Unless it comes to pass that 100% of sheep and lambs passing through marts and factories are read, there can be absolutely no justification for farmers to continue to purchase EID tags and farmers should be reimbursed,” he concluded.

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