ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has welcomed the statement by Minister McConalogue that there will be no suckler cull scheme. “It is now imperative that we look at ways of funding active suckler, beef, and sheep farmers to keep them viable and to help them improve efficiency metrics which will also benefit the climate targets. ICSA fought hard at the Beef Vision group meetings to protect the suckler herd and it is good to see those efforts pay off. However, more needs to be done.”
ICSA met the Minister before Christmas and proposed a €250 million per annum support programme for helping farmers achieve climate targets. The ICSA proposed €80 million for store producers and beef finishers for a scheme to weigh cattle at regular intervals with a view to earlier average finishing. ICSA also proposed an additional €60 million for suckler farmers over and above what has been agreed in the CAP and promised in the budget. For sheep farmers we have insisted that the sector needs €50 million in addition to the CAP support in order to deliver a ewe payment of €35/ewe.
“These payments are vital, not only to make the cattle and sheep sectors more sustainable, but also to ensure that we keep a balance between dairy and less intensive systems. If we allow suckler and beef numbers to decline further, we are simply adding to the increase in dairy numbers.”
“The reality is that agriculture can only make progress on climate targets if the government accepts that climate action costs money. The 2022 export figures which show that the agri-food sector was worth €18.7 billion in exports demonstrates how important farming is to rural Ireland and to the economy in every county in Ireland. It is time to forget about lose/lose climate policies and to focus on win/win solutions.”