4 MAY 2018
ICSA Roscommon chairman Ger Grehan has been elected to the position of national vice beef chair of ICSA at a recent meeting of the association’s beef committee. Mr Grehan is a suckler and beef farmer and hails from Taughmaconnell in the south of the county. Following his election Mr Grehan reflected on the difficult few months farmers have endured, “It’s been the worst winter and spring in living memory and morale is at a very low ebb as a result,” he said.
“Even though we are now officially in summer, there are many farmers who are still feeding livestock. This is the case, not just on low lying and marginal land areas, but also on good ground as a result of the severe lack of grass growth and it’s going to take another few weeks until we see a real improvement in conditions. Farmers have taken a big hit financially and cashflow problems have been building up for many. Minister Creed was too slow in recognising the seriousness of the fodder crisis and many felt it was a case of too little too late. It is imperative now that the Minister prioritises issuing any outstanding payments due to farmers without delay.”
“The Minister will also have to seriously reconsider Foodwise 2025 targets for increasing production in light of climate change, global warming and extreme weather related events. The cold facts of increased production for many farmers are increased hardship and extra costs. It is galling that others are benefiting on the backs of farmers while the primary producer is left behind. It all appears to be unsustainable, particularly after such a harsh winter.”
“All of this of course is in the midst of latest disturbing news from the EU of a proposed cut of 5% in the next CAP budget, when in fact there should be an increase to at least cover inflation. Farmers cannot be expected to do more and more for less and less and this message must get through.”
“What we urgently need is more transparency around who gets what in the retail food chain, particularly in the beef and lamb sectors. Such transparency would illustrate clearly that primary producers are not getting a fair share of the retail price. Until we get this, and action is taken by Government and their EU colleagues, it’s going to be more of a case of Survival 2025 for farmers not Foodwise 2025.”