A delegation, led by INHFA President, is meeting EU Commission staff this coming week to discuss their proposals for support of our suckler sector.
The meetings will address the difficulties farmers have in accessing the limited supports available to the sector in Ireland, as well as future direct supports for farmers and market access for suckler beef, according to the organisation’s national president, Colm O’Donnell.
Schemes “not delivering”
With regard to the three support schemes currently in place, namely the BDGP, BEEP and BEAM, the farm leader maintained that they are “not delivering” for extensive suckler cow farming systems, as “evident through the very low uptake”.
“The conditionality required from these schemes has discriminated against smaller herds on fragmented holdings that forms a major part of our suckler sector especially in western seaboard counties.”
“Our meeting with the EU Commission will give us the opportunity to explain why these schemes are not working for the majority of suckler farmers as well as providing the opportunity to explore other support options for these farmers.”
New and existing markets
In relation to existing and new markets, O’Donnell stated “how suckler produced beef is a unique product in terms of quality and the manner in which it is reared”.
“These differences will give it a marketing advantage with a consumer, who has become more demanding in terms of animal welfare and our environment.”
He concluded by outlining how these meetings are a “starting point” in a campaign to deliver “real support” for suckler farmers and called on all suckler farmers to support and work with the farm in “delivering” for the sector.