“Our family farm structure is under threat like never before” – that’s according to Jackie Cahill TD, who added that “the primary producer is always at the back of the queue when it comes to getting paid”.
“I wonder if the processors have been listening to the farmers in recent weeks. The 30-month rule, which has been a major bone of contention, is a leftover from the BSE crisis of a generation ago.”
“The differential in price remains even after seven or eight weeks of pickets.”
He said that Bord Bia has come in for much criticism in the last few weeks and the recognition of the job it does has been “lost in the crossfire”.
“Farmers have lost confidence in Bord Bia. I ask the Minister of State to ensure a certain level of the agency's funding is ring-fenced for supporting live exports because there is a belief that no effort is being made to secure outlets for live exports or move live cattle out of the country.”
“Live exports were always the safety valve that kept competition in the trade.”
He hopes that when producer groups are established, they will allow family farmers to have the “same clout as feedlots in securing a reasonable price”.
“Feedlots have clearly been getting preferential prices over the small operators with five or ten cattle, and that has to end.”
Cahill believes that it is “essential that the Government shows its commitment to farmers” by extending the crisis fund to offset some of the losses incurred during the summer months.