Roscommon IFA chairperson, John Hanley, has said the suckler cow herd is the backbone of Ireland’s €3 billion beef and livestock sector and suckler farming, which is “vitally important to every rural parish across the country”.
He said: “An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed must fully support the suckler herd and appreciate its importance for Irish agriculture and rural Ireland.
“It has been well flagged that the Government is planning to spend an extra €3 billion in the next Budget due to the improvement in the national finances. This provides an ideal opportunity for the Government to back up their words of support for the sector. Minister Creed needs to invest in the suckler herd and tackle the income crisis on livestock farms”.
Mr. Hanley added: “From our lobbying work with public representatives across the political parties, there is strong support for sucklers”.
Meanwhile, John O’Beirne, Roscommon IFA Livestock chairperson, said the suckler cow herd is “a vital national asset” and that to underline the importance of the national herd, the IFA will commission a new study in order to quantify its contribution to the rural economy.
He said: “This will form an important element of an intensified IFA campaign on sucklers over the coming months in the lead-up to the next Budget and also feed into the CAP 2020 debate.
“Instead of implementing policies to reduce the suckler herd, we need initiatives, including increased direct payments, to maintain and enhance it. I’m restating IFA’s demand for a payment of €200 per suckler cow”.
Speaking at the 63rd IFA AGM, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said he is supporting the herd by providing €300m in the BDGP scheme. He said he was “committed to doing everything possible to support the suckler herd and open to considering how to better deliver for sucklers, particularly in the context of CAP 2020”.