Beef processors back IFA in suckler subsidy debate
Beef processors have backed calls for increased supports for suckler farmers, but stressed that any such payments should not finance a beef-cow cull.
"The industry fully supports calls from the farming organisations for additional investment and supports in the beef sector, and in particular that this would be targeted at suckler producers," Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland (MII) told the Farming Independent.
"However, this should be positive investment in sucklers and therefore we would not support proposals related to a cull. Support should always be targeted towards active producers," he maintained.
Differences have emerged between the IFA and ICSA over the last month on possible supports for suckler producers.
While the IFA called for a coupled payment of up to €200/cow for all suckler cows, the ICSA insisted that beef supplies need to be curtailed across Europe for prices to rise. It is proposing a payment of €200/cow for five years on every cow that farmers remove from their herd.
But MII insisted that recoupling payments for the suckler herd and increased efficiency at farm level were what was required.
"We need to continue to invest in and work on the expansion of programmes such as the Beef Data and Genomic Programme, the Knowledge Transfer groups and BETTER Farms that aim to improve productivity and efficiency, and ultimately the bottom line in beef enterprises, particularly for the specialist suckler herd," Healy said.
"There is still so much that can be done inside the farm gate to improve margins, as well as extracting the best returns from the marketplace," the MII director added.