August 15, 2022
Irish beef sector a national asset, says farm association president
Ireland's beef sector should be celebrated as a unique national asset, the president of the Irish Farmers' Association, Tim Cullinanm, said.
Speaking at the Tullamore Show and FBD National Livestock show on August 14, Cullinanm added: "What's on show today is testament to the passion, commitment and investment of farmers who take great pride in what they produce.
"Contrary to some commentary about livestock farming, we should celebrate what they do, not denigrate it. The Food Vision beef sub group is currently looking at proposals for the future of the sector. Any further attempt to undermine our suckler sector would be economic treason and would be likely to increase global emissions, rather than reduce them.
"The suckler and wider beef sector contributes hugely to the economic and social sustainability of rural Ireland. It is a complete fallacy to say we should reduce or restrict beef production in Ireland with Brazil and other countries waiting in the wings to further escalate production with a much higher carbon footprint.
"The (Irish) government needs to support the sector more and they must come forward with an enhanced Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme for Sucklers (BEEP-S) for 2023 and future years, in the upcoming budget on September 27.
IFA National Livestock chairman Brendan Golden said the Irish beef sector is built on the highest production standards and image of the world-class beef produced from suckler cow farms. However, since 2018, there has been a 12% reduction in suckler cow numbers, leading to a reduction of over 20% in suckler beef production.
"Suckler and beef farmers will play our part on climate action," Golden said. "Measures that are practical to implement, have the potential to add value on our farms and contribute to the climate objective will all be considered.
"But the level of ambition for the sector will be determined by the level of government and industry ambition to directly support farmers in the process. We do not have the economic capacity for extra investments or changes of practice on our farms."
Golden said there is a real opportunity for the Irish government to come forward with a funding package to support suckler and beef farmers to ensure Ireland continues to produce beef at a time of real food security and food sovereignty concerns.
- Offaly Independent