ICSA Beef chair Edmund Graham has said ICSA will not agree to any measures in the Beef Vision group discussions unless the process is focused on the importance of the farmer and the reality that unless the farmer can make an income, climate change actions are a complete waste of time. “Farmers can’t be expected to carry the load on their own, particularly as the Government’s Climate Action Plan envisages a total cost for the entire economy of €125 billion.”
At yesterday’s sitting of the group in Backweston (Thursday 15 September) ICSA strongly outlined what the association insists are necessary before it can agree to anything:
- No measure should be even considered without a proper economic impact assessment of how it impacts farm incomes and the rural economy.
- A voluntary scheme is introduced for earlier finishing of cattle. The scheme must cover young bull production and finishing steers and heifers in the 24-to-28-month range.
- Genotyping of all calves from the dairy herd destined for beef systems in Ireland.
- Recent factory price cuts are reversed.
- Factories fulfil their commitment to the live weighing of cattle in factories and sharing that information with their suppliers.
- A commitment is made to review the pricing on the 2= fat score.
- There is a guarantee of no enforced cuts to the suckler herd.
Mr Graham said, “There is no point expecting farmers in the cattle and sheep sectors to deliver on climate action if they are losing money. Active beef producers have already lost out heavily on convergence in the Basic Payment Scheme and will lose even more money in the coming years. That is the reality we are dealing with, so unless our beef, suckler, and sheep farmers are profitable, they cannot be expected to carry the load on climate action. ICSA has consistently argued that if live exports of calves and weanlings are stopped, there is absolutely no hope of getting anywhere near the 25% target.”