The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) held a protest outside ABP in Clones Co. Monaghan earlier today, October 5th, over the recent push by processors to decrease beef prices further, as originally reported by us here.
A reported 50 farmers joined together outside the factory at 7am in Monaghan this morning, with some of the protesters even preventing lorries from delivering their consignments of cattle. Some farmers even brought with them tractors, balers and slurry tankers as back up, using them to block the entrance gate.
After two hours of prot,ests some hauliers were finally granted entry by the group of protesters, who were even joined by Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy. The ICSA say they organized the protest as the beef sector is currently being crucified by beef price cuts. The recent cuts, on the back of an extreme year for farmers weather-wise, were heavily criticised by the ICSA beef chairman, Edmund Graham, who said farmers are already “On their knees” at the moment.
“It is beyond belief that in a year like this, when farmers are on their knees with extra cost arising from a fodder crisis that the meat industry would seek to increase profits on the back of farmers.” He said.
“There has been an orchestrated effort to drive down price at a rate of 5c/kg/week. The current price of €3.70/kg is totally inadequate when costs of production are at least €4.40/kg for cattle from the dairy herd. Meanwhile, the suckler herd is not profitable unless price is closer to €5/kg.” Mr. Graham continued.
The ICSA beef chairman then called for farmers to fight back and says they cannot go on taking a risk and working for nothing.
“It is time for farmers to fight back. We cannot go on working for nothing and risking substantial capital finishing cattle especially as we enter the expensive winter finishing period.” He stated.
Mr Graham was also highly critical of the failure of new International markets to deliver strong prices for farmers.
“Compared to five years ago we have seen the opening of markets in the USA, China, South East Asia and this week Kuwait. Yet there has been no benefit to farmers and prices today are weaker than five years ago.” Mr. Graham noted.
“Meat factories and retailers love to talk about sustainable systems of beef production. ICSA believes that unless cattle farmer incomes are economically sustainable, all the rest is just pie in the sky.” He added.
Mr. Graham suggested that prices are been manipulated by meat factories, who are using their own feedlots to do so.
“The meat industry cannot be allowed drive farmers out of business. ICSA believes it is an unacceptable element of the sector that meat factories are using their own feedlots to manipulate price. The price cutting is also a way of subduing store cattle price with a view to getting cheaper cattle for their own feedlots.” He said.
“ICSA is sending out a strong message that farmers cannot stand idly by as their livelihoods are being decimated. Further action cannot be ruled out.” He concluded.
Pictures - @EddiePunch & @ICSAIreland