'The average beef farmer is working for €2 an hour'
Alison de Vere Hunt, Ardmayle, Cashel, Co Tipperary, auctioneer and farmer
Beef farmers have a choice - stage a 'revolution' and force the factories to pay a fair price or else remain at the bottom of the food chain. That's the verdict from Alison de Vere Hunt who runs a beef farm with her brother Robert and mother Annette in Co Tipperary.
"Beef prices are where they were back in the eighties and what you get from the factories is nowhere near the actual value of the beef produced. I reckon the average beef farmer is working for €2 an hour at the moment and is only getting across the line, in financial terms, with their EU basic payment," she says.
She believes the causes of this imbalanced market are the beef processors' tactics, fence-sitting by successive agriculture ministers and ineffective lobbying from farm organisations.
A psychology graduate who also holds masters degree in business, Alison is well placed to make these calls.
Not only does she help run the family's 200ac beef enterprise at Ardmayle, near Cashel, but she also runs the family's private mart as well as their thriving auctioneering business in the town.
Alison took an active interest in the family businesses after her father, Philip, well known among the local farming community as "Vere', died three years ago.
The family farm currently runs a herd of around 100 cattle and it is being restocked to take between 300 to 400 head, while the mart sells some 26,000 head of cattle annually, mainly through the Saturday sales.
Alison is strictly management on the mart side and hasn't wielded the gavel yet despite local farmers mercilessly egging her on at every hand's turn.