IFA president Tim Cullinan
IFA president Tim Cullinan said that farmers and everybody involved in the sector needs to fully observe all HSE protocols and do everything they can to minimise risk, so we can keep processors, co-op stores and marts operating.
“It is particularly important that farmers attending marts follow all the guidelines strictly. I want to thank the staff in the co-op stores, marts and the processing sector, as well as hauliers, and others that are working hard to keep the food supply chain moving.
“It is important that the EU has recognised the importance of keeping essential goods such as food supplies, including livestock, moving across Europe,” said Mr Cullinan.
The IFA president said farmers empathise with other small businesses in our community experiencing business closures and job losses.
“We are fortunate that we can keep our sector operating and we must follow all guidelines fully. It is important that farmers keep in touch via phone with their neighbours who might be farming on their own. We must try and avoid those who are socially isolating feeling isolated.
“Any farmer who needs assistance should contact their local IFA office, IFA branch or county chairperson,” said Mr Cullinan. Ring 061 314196 for the Limerick office.
Meanwhile, IFA National Livestock chairman Brendan Golden said factories are paying a base price of €3.65/€3.70 for steers this week and €3.75 for heifers in places.
Mr Golden said the factories had put increased safety protocols in place for COVID19 and it was essential that these were fully observed by all suppliers.
In response to a Farm Leader query on the coronavirus crisis, on Friday, March 13, an ABP spokesperson said: “ABP is conscious of the need to maintain normal processing operations, insofar as possible under the current circumstances, given the knock-on implications at farm level and the need to move animals in an orderly fashion.
“The company already operates stringent, robust and tested protocols for staff hygiene and biosecurity across all of its facilities. Notwithstanding this, the company is taking its guidance from the HSE in terms of public health. It is engaging collaboratively with farmer suppliers, contractors and hauliers in a concentrated effort to limit the spread of Covid-19.”
Mr Cullinan has asked the public to be particularly conscious of biosecurity on farms at this time.
“Farms are a vital part of the food distribution system. We need the highest level of biosecurity measures in place. Farmers will have their own biosecurity measures to facilitate the collection of their produce, and to receive deliveries of feed and care for their animals.
“I am asking members of the public not to call to farms. Those who have business on farms should call strictly by appointment only. Members of the public should avoid entering farms for leisure activities such as walking, shooting or hunting,” said Mr Cullinan.
“It is absolutely vital that we keep our food supply chain moving. Many farms will be in trouble if the farmer falls ill or if people involved in processing or transporting produce or supplies become ill or have to self-isolate,” he concluded