New Beef Plan Movement is on the move to County Limerick

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

The inaugural County Limerick meeting takes place in Kilmallock Mart on Tuesday, January 22, at 8pm

The inaugural County Limerick meeting takes place in Kilmallock Mart on Tuesday, January 22, at 8pm

BEEF farming is no longer a sustainable business, said a spokesperson for the Limerick branch of the new Beef Plan Movement.

“There are numerous reasons for this, most of which can be laid at the meat factory gates and the retail sector,” said the spokesperson.

“The main one being the price paid to the farmer at the factory gate and by extension the large percentage taken by the retail sector.

“If any business is to be sustainable it has to achieve a cost of production plus a profit margin. This is not happening with beef production. Some beef farmers have decided enough is enough and have closed the farm gates,” said the spokesperson.

The Limerick branch of the Beef Plan Movement will hold its inaugural meeting in County Limerick in Kilmallock Mart on Tuesday, January 22, at 8pm.

As of the week ending December 30, the national average final price paid to farmers by 24 of the Department of Agriculture approved meat factories for an R3 steer was €3.89/kg, as published by the department.

“This price is inclusive of all so-called bonuses paid and has been little different for the preceding number of weeks,” said the spokesperson. “Teagasc figures suggest this price is well below cost of production and more so in 2018 due to higher input costs. Profit margins are non existent. This decimation of beef farmers cannot be allowed to continue if the industry is to survive.

“There are several other issues - thirty month age restriction, 90-day residency on last farm and four farm movements in animals’ lifetime imposed by meat factories, just to mention but a few,” he added.

“The most recent one being the carcass classification scandal. The Beef Forum set up by the Minister for Agriculture has also failed to deliver any meaningful solutions for beef and suckler farmers on these issues. If all stakeholders came together in a meaningful way it could be mutually beneficial to all but there has to be a much more equitable distribution of the cake. It is to this end the Beef Plan Movement was initiated,” said the spokesperson.

The Beef Plan is an initiative developed by a working group of Irish beef farmers. The plan currently contains 86 points to address the difficulties on Irish farms today.

“The spin-off from beef farming throughout rural Ireland is also affected. Farmers must come together to face this challenge. Over dependence on RDP payments to keep the balance sheet balanced is not a safe place to be for any genre of farmer, moreover in light of what is unfolding in the EU at the minute. This will be a continual trend if not addressed.

“The Beef Plan 2018 - 2025 is designed to help beef farmers.The main co-ordinator, Eamon Corley has set up a working group to promote the initiative. More help is required. Mr Corley wishes to include all sectors of the Irish farming diaspora. Meetings are currently running around Ireland to explain the plan and help improve it. The organisers want to engage with over 40,000 farmers.

“Dairy farmers have a vested interested in this plan also as a significant number of cattle slaughtered every week are from the dairy herd. Dairy and suckler farmers choosing to sell their stock at the marts will get a decent price for them if the beef finisher gets a proper price at the meat factory. We encourage all farmers to get behind this movement in the hope that beef farmers would not just exist but flourish into the future and enhance the rural community as we used to know it,” they concluded.

Farmers wishing to support this initiative should make contact with any member of the Limerick committee listed below to register your support or alternatively they can do so at the meeting in Kilmallock Mart on January 22 at 8pm. David Murphy 087 6142761, Paddy O Sullivan 087 8199720, Sean O'Connell 087 1960644, Aidan Quinn 086 8664079, John Moloney 087 9380346, Donal Egan 087 1166720, Patrick Collopy 087 0686075.

See beefplan.ie for more information.