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Feb 10, 2023 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

ICSA Sheep chair Sean McNamara has said the economic sustainability of sheep farmers must top the agenda when the Sheep Vision group convenes. “The sheep sector is in complete turmoil with sheep farmers around the country taking a serious financial hammering. We are producing a sustainable product in an environmentally sustainable way but the lack of interest in our economic sustainability on the part of processors, retailers, and the Government has been a disgrace. The Sheep Vision group must address this before anything else,” he said.

Minister McConalogue announced he would convene the Sheep Vision group at the ICSA AGM and Conference held in Portlaoise on Thursday (9 February).

“I am pleased that Minister McConalogue has listened to ICSA’s repeated calls to address the crisis in the sheep sector. The figures Teagasc put out recently illustrate just how bad sheep farmers are faring. They calculated the net margin per ewe in 2022 was just €7, down from €39 per ewe the previous year. Many farmers in ICSA would argue that net margin is now even less than €7 per ewe; either way it’s a drop of over 80% and it’s a drop sheep farmers cannot survive.”

“We need answers at the Sheep Vision group. We need answers from the processors, from the retailers and from the Government. Primary producers are playing their part by producing world class nutritious food, but the stark reality is that we are not getting paid enough for that product, nor are we getting the necessary supports from Government. That is what the Sheep Vision group needs to get to grips with first and foremost – not asking sheep farmers to do more on the environment or anything else while they are haemorrhaging money.”

ICSA is demanding an annual support payment of €50 million – in addition to the CAP support – to deliver a ewe payment of €35/ewe. The association has also called for an exceptional aid payment of €20/hd for up to a maximum of five hundred head of lambs which have been sold at significantly reduced prices over the period August 2022 to February 2023.


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