'It's a liquidation job if EU and Government don't help beef farmers'
Denis Large is a third-generation beef and tillage farmer outside Urlingford, in Co Tipperary.
He has spent the last 30 years building up his farm and raising a family of four daughters with his wife, Anne.
Today, Mr Large has 150 suckler cows on his farm and 100 acres of tillage, producing most of the fodder that is used on the farm himself.
"From the day the calves are born on this farm, they don't leave until they go, between 16 and 22 months, to the factory," he said.
"I'm involved in a number of schemes, all designed to help breed more efficient cattle and reduce emissions.
"We're producing beef as efficiently and environmentally friendly as possible.
"I don't understand how importing beef from South America is an option for any European country," he said.
Mr Large has invested in buildings, machinery, stock, land and hard work over the past 30 years in order to get his farm to where it is today.
He feels that he's being left in the lurch.
"Our best market is possibly gone, and I expect the EU and Irish Government to stand by farmers.
"All farmers, not just the beef guys.
"I have done my part to keep the economy of this country going for the past 10 years," he said.
"Farming has done its part," he added.
"Now the farmer must be looked after."
He says that if the Government and EU do not support the beef sector, then it's finished.
"At the moment, compared to this time last year, when I was not making a big profit, I'm making €200/head less on cattle," he said.
"I have a total of 450 animals on the farm at the moment, with 120 to be sold in the next three months."
At the moment, the 120 heifers are worth in the region of €160,000.
But if the factory has got no market for them, then it might not even take them off his hands.
"It's a liquidation job if the EU and Government do not help us," he added.