ICSA WELCOMES MINISTER MCCONALOGUE AND URGES RENEWED FOCUS ON DELIVERING ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY TO DRYSTOCK FARMERS

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2 SEPTEMBER 2020

 ICSA president Edmond Phelan has welcomed the appointment of Charlie McConalogue as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. “The focus must be on delivering economic sustainability to cattle and sheep farmers and ICSA looks forward to working closely with Minister McConalogue.”

“Agriculture has suffered over recent months without ministerial leadership. Minister McConalogue now needs to get to grips with the pressing issues and make up for lost time.   The key issues will be Brexit and the CAP reform, both of which will be critical in determining the future for Irish farming.”

The Beef Taskforce in particular needs to deliver for farmers. It has been in existence for a year now and farmers are getting frustrated with the current lack of urgency.”

“Minister McConalogue needs to inject a sense of urgency into the Beef Taskforce.  It has been side-lined for too long and farmers want results now.  It must bring about total transparency in the food chain and ensure that neither processor nor retailer can abuse their dominant positions.  To this end, ICSA wants to ensure that our demand for a regulator for the beef food chain is delivered.”

“ICSA is also insisting the TB Forum is reconvened as a matter of urgency. The promised TB Forum did not happen at the end of August due to the absence of a minister, yet the Department is moving ahead with changes to the TB Eradication Programme that were not previously agreed to, and which are causing much disquiet amongst farmers. Most notably, the issuing of TB Herd History Risk Statements to farmers is a matter that requires the Minister’s urgent attention.”

“ICSA is adamant that suckler beef must be developed and promoted as a special high value product.

As such, we are opposed to the Bord Bia application for EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for Grass Fed Beef. Rather, ICSA believes a suckler based application is more appropriate and indeed is vital for the survival of the suckler sector. We will be urging Minister McConalogue to reconsider the national position on the current PGI application.”

“The roll out of a new REPS type scheme is vital if we are serious about playing our part in the EU Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies. ICSA is calling for a trebling of the current GLAS budget to facilitate the scheme, given the numbers of farmers it would hope to attract. An annual budget of €750 million is the minimum required.”

 

“ICSA also wants to see the establishment of a dedicated Sheep Taskforce with a remit to tackle all the ongoing issues in the sector. Sheep farmers have not received any Brexit or Covid related compensation packages, there are difficulties around the numbers of lambs being continuously imported into the country, and we need a coherent strategy to increase the value of wool.  There is also an urgent need to develop a new and improved Sheep Welfare Scheme that could deliver substantially more financial benefit to sheep farmers.”

 

ENDS