11 JANUARY 2019
ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham has commended the publication in the Farmers’ Journal of costs of production for a kg of beef outlined by Waterford farmer Billy Glasheen which demonstrates the need for straight talking about the future of the sector. “Billy Glasheen has brought reality to the discussion by including a rate for the farmer’s labour.”
“He also argues correctly that account should be taken of the cost of the farmer’s own land but he has set that against land based direct payments. In reality for most farmers, the direct payments are not fully compensating for the opportunity cost of leasing out land.”
“The figures which show an average production cost for a kg of beef in the range €5 to €5.30 are more realistic than Teagasc figures in the range €4 to €4.54 because the Teagasc figures do not allow anything for your own labour or your family’s labour. There is no other industry where the cost of production ignores basic labour costs.”
“ICSA has been arguing for years now that it is unacceptable that a farmer is expected to work for free, especially in an economy where there are many job opportunities and where farmers are facing a huge challenge to get help either full-time or part-time. We have to get the message out to all stakeholders, including processors, retailers and consumers that the real cost of production is above €5/kg and that it is utterly unsustainable for farmers to sell beef on today’s market at €3.65.
This also serves as a wake-up call for the Government that continued expansion is not working for our suckler or beef farmers and that a complete re-think is required.”