30th May 2014
ICSA president Patrick Kent has said that many farmers are making less from suckler and sheep farming than what’s paid on the dole. “The rate for a single person is €188/week or €9,777 per annum. According to the Teagasc National Farm Survey estimates for 2013, the average income from suckling is €9,594 and sheep farming is only slightly better at €11,178.
“Farmers in the low income sectors are sick and tired of listening to platitudes from politicians about the importance of our meat exports. The reality is that the show is nearly over for this type of farming unless there is a radical shake-up of how much the farmer gets from the final retail price. Farmers in the UK are also getting restless about recent beef price cuts and it is clear that the decline in the suckler herd both here and in the UK could gather momentum very quickly. Minister Coveney needs to explain how we can maintain beef exports.”
“The Minister needs to reflect very hard on the future of beef exports, from farming perspective rather than a corporate mindset. Increasing exports for the benefit of multinational retailers like Tesco who have recently reported almost €4 billion profit is pointless when suckler farmers are getting less than the dole. We cannot allow farmers to be serfs for greedy corporate giants.”
“A lot of suckler farms have been propped up with off-farm income, but increasing taxes and charges and the general economic downturn means that there will be less and less opportunity for this. The meat industry needs to come up with a strategy to deliver beef prices closer to €5/kg if they want the suckler herd to remain.”