ICSA PROTEST BEEF PRICES AT DAWN MEATS BALLYHAUNIS

15 OCTOBER 2018

Frustrated farmers have protested outside Dawn Meats, Ballyhaunis this morning to reflect the anger at continuous cuts in beef price by meat factories.  The protest has been organised by ICSA – the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association who say that farmers in the beef sector have been crucified by beef price cuts in a year when farmers have substantial extra costs due to extreme weather.

ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said farmers cannot continue to produce beef at current prices. “It is beyond belief that in a year like this, when farmers are on their knees with extra cost arising from a fodder crisis that the meat industry would seek to increase profits on the back of farmers.”

“There was an orchestrated effort to drive down beef price over several weeks. Since ICSA first  took action on October 5, the price cutting has stopped. But now we want to drive price back up and no farmer should dream of selling steers this week at less than €3.85. Current prices, however, are totally inadequate when costs of production are at least €4.40/kg for cattle from the dairy herd.  Meanwhile, the suckler herd is not profitable unless price is closer to €5/kg.”

“It is time for farmers to fight back. We cannot go on working for nothing and risking substantial capital finishing cattle especially as we enter the expensive winter finishing period.”

ICSA president Patrick Kent said that ICSA was sending a very clear message to retailers that beef  farmers were being exploited.  “There will be no hiding place for retailers now who claim they are supporting farmers.   Retailers cannot boast about sustainable beef and then profiteer when farmers are not even getting the cost of production.”

“Retailers and processors need to wake up to the fact that there will be no sustainable beef if they continue to squeeze the primary producer. ICSA  is calling for a halt to the exploitation of family farms.”

The ICSA president also hit out at the failure of new international markets to deliver strong prices for farmers. “Compared to five years ago we have seen the opening of markets in the USA, China, South East Asia and this week Kuwait. Yet there has been no benefit to farmers and prices today are weaker than five years ago.”

“ICSA is sending out a strong message that farmers cannot stand idly by as their livelihoods are being decimated.  This is the second day of action and unless prices improve further disruption cannot be ruled out.”

ENDS