Liam Gilligan, Leitrim IFA Livestock Chairperson, said to sustain the positive growth in the beef and livestock sector strong viable cattle prices are absolutely essential going forward. He said with the continuing increase in production costs and cuts to vital farm schemes, livestock farmers are dependent on a strong price return from the market to maintain and grow production.
On the Ciolos CAP 2013 reforms, M. Gilligan argued that Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, must maintain a tough bargaining position for Ireland and ensure full funding of the Single Farm Payment and Rural Development is secured. He said the Single Farm Payment must be fully protected with strong opposition to flattening and regionalisation.
“Payments must support active farmers and underpin production,” he pointed out.
Mr Gilligan added there could be no more cuts to farm schemes and Minister Coveney would have to look elsewhere for savings. He said the maintenance of the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme is vital to suckler farmers going forward and particularly the beef sectors ability to service and grow high quality retail market outlets in line with the Food Harvest 2020 targets.
Mr Gilligan said the ongoing political and diplomatic initiatives of Minister Coveney on re-opening beef and live export markets is very important for the livestock sector. He said the sector is anticipating progress on the opening of the beef market to the USA on the back of the Minister’s visit this week. In addition, he said with the increase in the number of younger stock, particularly from the dairy herd, it was never more important for Minister Coveney to secure the re-opening of the live cattle trade to the Middle East and North Africa.