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ETTG: Cashel Mart, Beef Plan Group and replacing cows with trees


“We have to stick together, otherwise there’s no future for beef farmers" – beef farmers express their anger at low cattle prices and red tape.

ETTG: Cashel Mart, Beef Plan Group and replacing cows with trees

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“We have to stick together, otherwise there’s no future for beef farmers" – beef farmers express their anger at low cattle prices and red tape.

Tonight's episode of Ear to the Ground features a segment on Cashel Mart, Beef Plan Group and a man who replaced his cows with trees.

Cashel Mart

In December 2012, well-known Tipperary farmer and Mart owner - Philip de Vere Hunt - died by suicide, leaving his wife Annette and five adult children devastated at his loss at the age of just 64.

Now seven years on from that tragic night, Annette, along with two of her children - Robert and Alison - have worked hard to keep the business thriving.

Helen Carroll met the family on a busy mart day in Cashel to find out what drove them on following the death of Philip, and how they threw themselves into work to such a degree that it took years to come to terms with the grief of his loss.

Replacing cows with trees

It's not often that you see a dairy farmer replacing his cows with trees, but that’s exactly what Gerard Deegan has done on his 145-acre organic farm in Co Westmeath.

In 2012, as Gerard approached an age when most people begin to think about retiring, he wondered what he was going to do to continue to make an income from his farm as he got older. The solution for him was to plant it; he now has 100-acres of broadleaf such as Sycamore; Oak; Ash; and Beech; and Conifers including Norway Spruce; Scots Pin; and European Larch.

Ella McSweeney went to visit Gerard on his farm in Cloghanumera to see how his woodlands are progressing.

The Battle for Cattle

Angry at low cattle prices, and frustrated by red tape, Irish beef farmers are getting together behind their own Beef Plan.

Using social media, they have recruited over 10,000 cattle farmers to the cause and drafted an 86-point plan to secure the future of the Irish beef industry.

For Roscommon suckler farmer Sean Gormley, it’s a last-ditch attempt to restore a profit to his farm.

Meath farmer Hugh Doyle aims to organise purchasing groups in every county to cut farmers costs, and then to establish producer groups to control the supply of cattle to the factories. “We have to stick together,” he says, “Otherwise there’s no future for beef farmers".

Darragh McCullough visits Sean’s farm and goes to Ballinasloe Mart where 400 farmers gathered to vent their anger at the system.

More information

Ear to the Ground - produced by indiepics for RTÉ - broadcasts on RTÉ One, Thursdays at 7pm and is repeated at 13.10pm on Sunday.

Image source: TVPR

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