The future of the Irish beef industry is at a critical juncture, according to farmers who will stage a protest later.

Prices in the sector are down at least 40 cent per kilogram since this time last year.

The Beef Plan Movement says it will hold a peaceful protest at an Irish Farmers Journal meeting in Ballinsaloe, Co.Galway this evening.

The event will be attended by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

Adam Woods from the Irish Farmers Journal is encouraging farmers to engage with the Minister and other speakers this evening.

52,000 full-time jobs and more than 14,000 suckler farms will be lost from Ireland’s beef industry in the next 10 years unless something is done, a leading academic has warned in the Irish Farmers Journal.

Ireland’s suckler herd is worth at least €2.9bn to the economy and accounts for the equivalent of 52,000 full-time jobs, UCD’s professor of agriculture and food economics Michael Wallace has calculated. But it faces the loss of 1,400 farms and more than 14,000 cows every year unless a strategy to protect it is put in place. “The suckler herd is a critical part of the agricultural industry in Ireland but its suffering a silent decline Mr Wallace told the Irish Farmers Journal ahead of the Beef Summit in Ballinasloe on tonight.

In counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon alone, sucklers are worth €700m and 12,400 jobs, his analysis shows, while they are worth €450m and 7,800 jobs in the midlands.

Sucklers in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan generate €445m in direct and indirect economic output and 8,600 jobs. Even the more dairy-dominated eastern and southern counties rely on sucklers for €835m and 15,600 jobs. Prof Wallace said agri-environmental supports for extensive suckler beef and a targeted headage payment for high quality beef genetics could be among the solutions to avert the decline facing the suckler herd. His analysis shows that the western, midlands and border counties are particularly reliant on the suckler herd, but its positive effect on the economy is felt nationwide. To demonstrate just how much the suckler cow provides for rural Ireland, the professor looked in detail at counties Galway and Leitrim

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