'Farmers who need to sell their cattle and sheep should be allowed to do so,' - IFA comment on Beef Plan protest

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'Farmers who need to sell their cattle and sheep should be allowed to do so,' - IFA comment on Beef Plan protest

As the Beef Plan protest continues at factories throughout the country, including at the Meadow Meats plant in Rathdowney, the IFA has said its members are free to make their own decisions regarding the current factory protests, or to withhold their cattle and sheep.

"However, farmers who need to sell their cattle or sheep should be allowed to do so," IFA stated. 

The IFA said its National Council had debated the current beef and farm income crisis at its most recent meeting on July 19. 

IFA President Joe Healy said several different strategies were discussed. The Council considered many factors including the current beef price and depressed market conditions across Europe and in the UK, and the increasing risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on October 31.

Read also: Beef crisis threatens Laois farm family livelihoods

"While the Council fully understands the frustration and anger of beef farmers, the view was that the best strategy at this time to get further meaningful results for our members is to continue to focus our lobbying efforts on the EU institutions and the Irish Government. This approach secured €100m, which will be very welcome for suckler and beef farmers despite the inclusion of some unnecessary restrictions," he said.

 The following urgent measures are being sought by IFA:

- An immediate ban on all substandard South American beef imports;
- A further fund to compensate farmers who supplied cattle post May 12th, 2019 and are currently losing €4m per week on beef prices;
- €1bn Brexit fund of market supports and direct aid for farmers;
- An EU campaign to promote our environmentally sustainable EU beef production.

As individuals, IFA members are free to make their own decisions regarding the current factory protests or to withhold their cattle and sheep. However, farmers who need to sell their cattle or sheep should be allowed to do so.

IFA wrote to the Beef Plan Group on July 10. We made it clear that we were in favour of farmer unity and that we would be happy to engage with them. We have not received a reply to date.

Read also: Beef farmers picketing a Laois meat factory over low prices