• Irish farm organisations have described as "insufficient" a €76 million support package announced by the European Commission for the meat and daily sectors.

    Under the terms of the package, the EU will provide €30 million for the private storage of dairy products, and a further €46 million for storage of beef and lamb.

     The ICMSA says the EU Covid support package "is so obviously inadequate that it bordered on an insult".

    ICMSA President Pat McCormack says the package completely fails to recognise the pressures on farmers and the wider food industry at this time.

    The Irish Farmers Association says the package is not nearly enough to support beef farmers in particular through the Covid-19 crisis, as it amounts to less an €8 for every farmer in Europe.

    IFA President Tim Cullinan says the financial crisis for beef finishers as a result of the coronavirus beef price collapse is so sever, that a much more substantial financial package - involving market supports and direct payment aid - is required.

    And the ICSA says the overall effort from the EU "falls very short of what is required".



  • Half a million lambs are being imported into the Republic of Ireland for slaughter every year.

    That’s according to figures obtained by ICSA Sheep Chairman Sean McNamara who has called on the Agriculture Minister to address the issue of sheep imports as a matter of urgency.

    Mr. McNamara says it’s no wonder that Irish Sheep famers have a hard time selling their stock or getting a fair price.

    He is calling on the Department of Agriculture to provide weekly reports on the number of lambs imported and from where.

  • The President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association Patrick Kent has resigned, following a meeting of the organisation yesterday evening.

    It comes after the Irish Independent revealed that Mr Kent had accepted being named on MEP candidate Mick Wallace's replacement list.

    Patrick Kent announced his intention to step down from his position as leader of ICSA with immediate effect at a meeting of the association’s National Executive yesterday evening.

    Mr Kent has held the position since 2014, having been re-elected twice during that time.

    He had insisted he is "apolitical" despite being named by Independents 4 Change MEP candidate Mick Wallace on his replacement list.

    Mr Wallace, who is running for an MEP seat in the South constituency, named Mr Kent in his list of five replacements in the event he is elected and later cannot fulfil the role.

    Mr Kent, however, had said he is "not politically active and doesn’t believe he’s nailing his colours to any political mast.

    He said the phone call from Mr Wallace had "come out of the blue" and he has only met the candidate three times.



  • The Beef Market Taskforce is due to meet next week, but it must deliver real results for farmers and not just end up as a talking shop.

    That's according to the President of the Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association Edmond Phelan.

    It's just over two weeks since farmers ended their protests outside a number of meat factories- including Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis - but Mr Phelan claims there's been no improvement in the prices they're getting for their cattle.

    The ICSA is calling for transparency over how much of the final retail prices is delivered to farmers, a completion of the review of the grid, full engagement by the retail trade and the appointment of a regulator.


    The Irish Cattle Sheep Farmers Association wants to see farmers on difficult land getting more funding from the ANC scheme.

    It also says those who've been taken out of the initative should be given a chance to appeal the decision.

    It believes the overall scheme needs a significant injection of funding even though an extra 23 million euro has been announced.

    ICSA Rural Development Chairman Seamus Sherlock says farmers with less quality land should get funding.



  • Sheep farmers are staging a protest at the Kepak factory in Athleague, Co Roscommon over the falling prices for lamb.

    The Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association says their members are protesting at the entrance to the Kepak factory since yesterday afternoon, and will remain there until the prices are increased by €8 per lamb.

    They claim the prices paid by Kepak are among the lowest in the country, and that the price per kilo for lamb has fallen by €1 in the past year - wiping out any profit for farmers.

    Séan McNamara, ICSA Sheep Chairman, told Midwest News that Kepak are currently paying €4.80 per kilo, and they're demanding €5.20 - a difference of €8 per lamb.




  • The Organic Farming Scheme will reopen to new entrants in the first week of March.

    Minister Pippa Hackett expects between 400 and 500 new farmers to be able to join the scheme, as an additional €4 million Budget funding was secured for the organic sector.

    She says priority will be given to the sectors where there's growing demand - horticulture, dairy and tillage.

    However, farming organisations are concerned that drystock farmers are being discriminated against.

    The Irish Cattle & Sheepfarmers Association held an online meeting with Minister Hackett yesterday to discuss this, and other issues.

    ICSA Organics chairman Fergal Byrne says cattle and sheep farmers have again been marginalised in the latest call for applications to the scheme.

    Speaking to Midwest News Mr Byrne said Minister Hackett is advising cattle and sheep farmers to apply, as she hopes to run a similar scheme again next year.