Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD.
IFA President, Joe Healy said the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed can no longer ignore the major cuts in cattle prices at the meat factories that have left beef farmers facing losses this year.
In a statement to www.leitrimobserver.ie, the IFA leader said cattle prices have been cut by more than €100 per head in the last month, eroding any chance of profit for farmers selling cattle over the peak autumn months.
Mr Healy said Minister Creed and the Department of Agriculture have worked hard and made considerable progress on market access issues and he cannot allow the factories to undermine the value of this work with unjustified beef price cuts.
He said the Minister has to insist that there is competition in the trade and market returns are fairly passed back to farmers. In addition, he must ensure that market access delivers real price gains and stability to farmers.
The IFA President said market demand for beef remains strong. He said cattle prices in our main export market in the UK are the equivalent of €4.42/kg including VAT, as reported by the ADHB and price increases in the UK market, have outpaced the changes to the Sterling exchange rate over the last two months. He said EU cattle prices are showing signs of improving which would be expected at this time of year as the schools prepare to return. In addition, he said there is no overhang of stock as was the case from the EU dairy cow cull this time last year and the demand for manufacturing beef is very buoyant.