• Agreement's been reached between Meat Industry Ireland representatives and Farm Organisations in the beef dispute.


    In a statement, the Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed says the talks have ended this afternoon.


    They've agreed on a two strand agreement for the reform of the Irish Beef Sector.


    The deal involves a number of interventions, to provide immediate benefit for beef producers, as well as a range of strategic steps to address structural imbalances in the sector.


    The Minister says a number of actions in the area of market transparency, beef promotion and strengthening the position of the farmer in the supply chain were agreed upon.


    The agreement includes...


    An increase of 66% in the current in-spec bonus for steers and heifers from 12c/kg to 20c/kg;


    The introduction of a new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30 to 36 months,  which meet all non-age related existing in-spec criteria, and which up to now have not received any bonus;


    The introduction of a number of new bonuses and reforms.


    An independent Beef Market taskforce will also be established.


    The agreement will come into effect once blockades end outside all meat factories.


    Average family farm incomes fell by 21% last year -according to the Teagasc National Farm Survey.

    It shows that farmers across the board struggled to cope with the difficulties presented by severe weather conditions in 2018.

    The average farm family income dropped by 21% to €23,483, but as low as €8,000 on suckler farms.

    A long winter, followed by an extremely dry Summer, seriously affected grass growth in 2018.

    As a result, there was a substantial increase in the volume of purchased feed and fodder needed on grassland farmers, with average feed expenditure up 34% .

    Dairy farms incurred the largest income fall last year, with a 31% drop in incomes to an average of just over €61,000 - down from almost €89,000 the previous year.

    Sheep farmers also saw an income reduction last year, with higher than normal levels of feed and fertiliser use - average sheep farm income fell by 21% to €13,769.

    The results expose the fragility of farm incomes, and should serve as a wake-up call at Government and EU level, according to the IFA President Joe Healy .

  • And as part of a further lifting of Covid-19 restrictions from today, buyers and sellers will be permitted to return to marts.

    Those attending marts will have to adhere strictly to public health guidelines, but the decision to allow buyers and sellers return to the mart ring will help the normal flow of trade in marts, along with the online facilities that will remain in place.

    That's according to Brendan Golden, the IFA Livestock Chairman, based in Killala.

    Brendan has welcomed the return of buyers and sellers to livestock marts....

  • The Department of Agriculture will have to find a way to ensure that the cost of electronic tagging of all sheep is not borne by sheep farmers.

    That’s according to the IFA, which is making a submission on the matter to the Minister for Agriculture, following a request by Minister Michael Creed.

    The IFA National Sheep Committee met recently  and agreed the main aspects of the submission to the Minister.

    Their submission will focus on the case that farmers cannot be expected to carry the costs of EID tagging when the main benefits will be going to the factories, the marts, the Department and the tag suppliers.

    The IFA claims the compulsory electronic tagging will cost Irish sheep farmers €2 million per year.

    They also claim it’s unacceptable that the Minister announces his move without consultation.

    In addition, the IFA submission will state that it is not practical at farm level to impose electronic tagging from this October, as the timing is all wrong in terms of the lamb trade and especially the store lamb trade.

    The association also claims there is no benefit in terms of traceability by using electronic tagging in lambs that move from the farm of origin directly to slaughter.

  • Dara Calleary's replacement as Agriculture Minister will be appointed next week.

    Taoiseach Míchéal Martin gave the commitment at a meeting with the IFA President last night.

    Mayo TD Dara Calleary resigned from the Cabinet last Friday morning, as he apologised for attending an Oireachtas golf society dinner in Clifden on Wednesday night, which breached public health guidelines.

    The IFA President Tim Cullinan says assurances have been given that the new Agriculture Minister will be appointed, once the Dáil resumes next week.

  • 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".



  • A case of BSE, or 'mad cow disease', has been confirmed in an Irish animal.

    The Department of Agriculture says an 'atypical' case of the disease has been detected in a 14-year-old cow.

    All Irish beef exports to China have been temporarily suspended.

    IFA president Tim Cullinan says it's a big blow to the farming industry.

  • Farming organisations are calling for more assistance for farmers during the Covid-19 crisis.

    The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association is calling for an additional €100 million to be added to the 2020 ANC scheme to compensate the primary producers of sucklers, store cattle, sheep and lambs.

    INHFA President Colm O'Donnell says the Agriculture Minister has a duty of care to ensure that our primary producers get financial supports as quickly as possible to help with cash flow.

    Meanwhile, as beef prices continue their downward trend this week, the IFA is calling on the Government to distribute the €24 million euro unspent from the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure to be distributed to farmers, to help alleviate their financial pressures during the current crisis.

    The Irish Farmers Association is calling putting pressure on the European Commission to implement an "Aids to Private Storage" scheme, which would put beef into storage until markets recover from the current crisis.

  • One of the country's largest retail distribution centres is being blockaded by farmers in a protest over beef prices.

    The Irish Farmers' Association has begun a 12 hour protest outside the Aldi nationwide warehouse in Naas, blocking access to delivery trucks.

    They're demanding better prices for beef, claiming prices in Ireland are well below UK and EU levels.

    IFA Connacht Regional Chairman Padraic Joyce says the price differences have left farmers very angry which has resulted in huge numbers turning out in Nass this morning.

  • Farmers are continuing their campaign for higher beef prices with a protest in Kildare this morning.

    The Irish Farmers' Association has blockaded the Musgraves Central Distribution Centre in Kilcock.

    It follows a similar demonstration in Dublin yesterday, as well as two in Cork and Kildare last week.

    Galway based IFA President Joe Healy says beef farmers should not accept the current beef price on offer from the factories.

  • Farmers are facing a fodder crisis and a financial crisis around the country.

    That's the warning from the IFA as it welcomes a Government scheme to encourage farmers to plant fast growing fodder as a catch crop - following the damage caused by the drought.

    IFA President Joe Healy says this year's weather extremes of snow and heat have left farmers in a dire position with crops and livestock.


  • Farmers are calling for urgent action from the Government to save the country's beef trade.

    The IFA is lobbying TDs and Senators in Dublin today on the beef crisis.

    They say they're finding it almost impossible to sell their stock because of poor prices, the weakness of sterling and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

    IFA representatives from every county will attend, seeking urgent action by the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed.

  • The IFA has welcomed clarification from the Department that a farmer who has incurred a substantial loss of income as a result of restrictions can qualify for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

    It means that fulltime farmers who cannot sell their stock and therefore have no income can claim the payment, while part-time farmers who have lost off-farm employment and suffered substantial loss of income can also qualify.

    The IFA says farmers in  receipt of Farm Assist payments are not entitled to the Covid-19  Unemployment Payment.  However, if their income has deteriorated as a result of restrictions or loss of income, they can look for a reassessment of the Farm Assist. 

    Farmers  in receipt of the Rural Social Scheme is not entitled to the Covid-19 payment, but the existing payment is maintained.

  • Farming groups met with representatives of the GLAS division of the Department of Agriculture yesterday, in an effort to break the logjam that has developed where a substantial number of GLAS commonage farmers still remained to be paid their final 15% instalment for 2017.

    Currently around 9,000 commonage farmers are in GLAS on up to 4,000 commonages. So far, however, just 1,490 plans, representing 40%, have been finalised, meaning that up to 6,000 farmers are still awaiting payment worth around €4m.

    Among the groups which met with Department officials was the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association.

    Their spokesperson Colm O’Donnell called on all DAFM approved Commonage Advisors to complete outstanding plans immediately, particularly to those contracted in block by the Department of Agriculture to Teagasc, who in turn sub-contracted to work to Farm Relief Services. He says it is totally unacceptable if many of the planners who commenced the interim plans last year are no longer engaged in GLAS plans, and Teagasc must make the necessary service available so that their clients are not left high and dry.

  • The Minister for Agriculture is being accused of sitting back and watching from the side-lines as Ireland's beef farmers sink to their knees.

    Fianna Fail's spokesperson on Agriculture says the Government can't expect farmers to continue carrying losses as beef prices continue to fall.

    Charlie McConalogue says Minister Creed must roll up his sleeves and tackle the frustration that has led farmers to the picket lines all this week.

    The IFA says a 'sweet-heart' deal between the EU and President Trump is another example of beef farmers being sacrificed for other sectors.

    The association's Livestock Chairman Angus Woods says beef imports are already seriously undermining EU and Irish beef prices and the new deal will further escalate the crisis.

  • The Government is set to announce a financial aid package for the beef sector.

    Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed will bring details of a support scheme to Cabinet, which could pump millions of euro into the sector.

    Last year farmers took to the streets and the factory gates to voice their frustration with the prices they were securing from the factories.

    Last year a €100m scheme called BEAM provided some support for beef farmers, but its conditions were widely viewed as being too stringent.

    Details of the scheme will be announced following today's Cabinet meeting.

    IFA President Tim Cullinan says its a welcome development that Minister Creed will put a proposed package for beef finishers in front of the Cabinet today.

    He says the details of the scheme and the small print will be important and he hopes that this scheme will be worthwhile and straight forward.

    IFA have made submissions to Government showing that beef finishers had lost over €20m as a result of the COVID price impact

  • Food prices have not kept up with inflation, according to the President of the IFA, Galway based farmer Joe Healy.

    A new UK study published today is warning that in the wake of the country’s recent heatwave pressure on crop production has increased and it could mean a rise of 5 percent in the price of meat, dairy and vegetable products in supermarkets.

    Mr Healy told Midwest News that extreme weather conditions here over the past number of months will also put a strain on food supply.

     He says in the 1960s a family on average spent 30 percent of their salary on food, that has now reduced to 15 percent on average and he attributes the reduction on CAP.

  • With the silage season underway, the Irish Farmers Association and the Road Safety Authority are making a joint appeal to those driving farm machinery and vulnerable road users to share the road safely.


    Both organisations are urging farming contractors, who will soon be bringing in the first cut of silage this year, to remember that roads are busier with cyclists and pedestrians because of the Covid-19 restrictions.


    Both the IFA and RSA are also appealing for motorists to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other farming machinery exiting from fields and farmyards.


    With more people out running, walking and cycling - both agencies say it's imperative that all road users take greater care and follow the rules of the road, while pedestrians should ensure they're visible to other road users - especially when walking in the early morning and late evening.




  • IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods has accused the cattle factories of crippling cattle farmers financially with the cutting of beef prices. He claims the latest drive by the meat plants to cut prices below a base price of €3.80/kg will do serious financial damage at farm level.

    He says cattle in the UK had increased by 4p/kg per week for the last 3 weeks and he contrasted this with prices cuts from the Irish factories.

    He told Midwest News today that the factory pull on beef prices is inflicting massive damage on the weanling and store cattle trade in the marts across the country and undermining the suckler cow herd.

    The IFA National Livestock leader said this year farmers have had to endure an extremely long and severe winter/spring period with massive meal bills. On top of this the drought involved farmers having to feed meals on grass at very significant additional expense and all of these bills are still there to be paid.

  • Two farming organisations - the IFA and the INHFA - are today calling on farmers to lift the pickets at factory gates, and give a chance to the deal hammered out over the weekend.

    Up to 300 farmers attended a rally outside Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis last night, where it was generally agreed that the beef deal brokered over the weekend would deliver extra bonuses and see the establishment of a beef market taskforce involving all stakeholders.

    However, farmers are still holding out for a higher base price for their cattle, and are vowing to continue to protest on this issue.


    Colm O'Donnell,President of the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association believes the beef agreement has the potential to deliver for beef farmers, but he claims farmers should end their protests now, or face losing what they've achieved over the past number of weeks.


    The Galway-based  IFA President Joe Healy is also urging farmers to end the blockades and give the deal hammered out at the weekend a chance.