Industry warns of potential wipeout of beef production as UK Government confirms no agriculture border checks
The President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) Joe Healy has warned that beef production in Ireland could potentially be wiped out if the UK crashes out of the EU.
He said the problems with currency volatility and the euro and Sterling exchange rate has already hit cattle prices this year and Irish farmers are down 20c/kg or over €70 per head on this time last year when prices had already been hit.
"If the UK crashes out next March, we are facing a far more serious situation and the potential wipeout of beef production in this country,” he said.
The Irish beef sector currently accounts for over 30pc of the value of Irish agricultural output at producer prices. There are in the region of 79,000 farms with suckler cows and over 90,000 farms had beef cattle on their farm.
The beef output of Irish farming provides the key input to the Irish meat processing industry while the Irish meat processing sector employs over 13,000 people.
Mr Healy said with just 100 days to Brexit, there is massive concern among all farmers and especially livestock farmers about prices and exports to our most important export market in the UK.
“Our Taoiseach and Tanaiste have told us about all sorts of contingencies like customs posts and hiring extra vets, but we haven't heard anything about what plan has been put in place to protect Irish farmers, who are the most exposed in Europe.”
"The time has come for the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, along with the EU Commission, to come forward with a comprehensive programme of supports that will address the real issues around market supports and cattle prices.