Ireland’ Sheep farmers are bearing the brunt as prices are squeezed by processors, that was the message of the Irish Cattle and Sheep farmers Association (ICSA) sheep chairman John Brooks who hit out at processors for pushing down prices.
Mr. Brooks claimed that processors are using excess supply and an excuse to lower prices being paid to farmers and said they are making “huge profits” off the backs of farmers.
“Processors are continuing to make huge profits off the backs of sheep farmers; they have no problem forward selling lamb at much greater prices than afforded to the primary producer.” Said John Brooks.
“This time of year is peak supply and factories keep looking for more supply but as soon as its forthcoming, prices are pulled.” He continued.
Mr. Brooks continued by stressing that the current model is unsustainable for farmers, highlighting that everyone along the processing line is making a profit off lambs reared by farmers, while farmers are producing them at a loss.
“From the time our lambs are in the processor’s hands, everyone handling the product along the line are making profits while also benefitting from whole raft of rights and terms & conditions that protect them.” He noted.
“No such protection is available to the sheep farmers who are being squeezed to such an extent that they are producing at a loss. It is both unjust and completely unsustainable in this day and age.” Brooks continued.
The ICSA sheep chair stated that 2018 has been the toughest calendar year for farmers in living memory and called the lowering of prices by processors “shameful”.
“2018 has undoubtedly been, and continues to be, the toughest year for farmers in living memory. It is shameful that processors are hammering hard pressed sheep farmers with their short term, high profit outlook.” Mr. Brooks said.
“Current prices of €4.65/kg, and even less in some cases, are below cost production. In essence, they don’t care who they put out of business.” He concluded.