IFA President Joe Healy

  • Negotiations  among all sides in the beef dispute will resume later this morning.

    Meat Industry Ireland, the Irish Farmers Association and the Beef Plan Movement are among those attending the talks in Celbridge, county Kildare.

    It's after beef farmers, members of the Beef Plan Movement, held pickets earlier this month at meat plants across the country, including Dawn Meats in Ballyhaunis, over the low prices they are securing for their animals from the factories.

    IFA President Joe Healy says for farmers it’s all about price. He said they are not allowed to talk about prices at the meeting due to competition authority law, but he told Midwest News today that prices have not increased since last week’s meeting in Kildare among all involved.

  • The Irish Farmers' Association is calling on the Government to introduce a fodder import scheme in response to the drought conditions.

    Urgent action is needed in order to give co-ops and merchants the best chance of sourcing fodder from other countries.

    According to the IFA President, Joe Healy, there is likely to be competition for fodder as the heatwave has affected farmers across the continent.

    He says decisive action is needed by the Government.

  • Irish farmers are furious over a new free-trade deal with South America.

    The Mercosur agreement paves the way for imports of cheaper beef from South America across the EU.

    IFA President Joe Healy says it's bad news for Ireland, for consumers and for the environment.

  • 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.

  • Farmers from across the country are taking part in an IFA protest today outside the Department of Health in Dublin, in relation to the Fair Deal nursing home scheme.

    The IFA is calling on the Government to deliver on its commitment to introduce a three-year cap on productive assets for farmers.

    At present under the Fair Deal scheme, a person pays 80% of their total income, such as a pension to help fund their care, and on top of this, they commit 75% of the value of their assets as a yearly contribution.

    In the case of the family home, the contribution is capped at 3 years, or 22.5% of the value of the home.

    However, farmers and business person's other assets, such as land, are hit with a 7.5% charge every year, indefinitely.

    IFA President Joe Healy says nursing home fees are placing a huge financial burden on farms, and the Government passed a motion last year agreeing to a three year cap, as farm assets are income-generating assets that pass on to the next generation.

    Mr Healy says the changes need to be introduced without delay, and retrospectively applied to last July, when the commitment was given.

  • The IFA claims a new trade deal between the US and the EU is another huge blow to Irish farming.


    Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed an agreement that will allow the States to export a lot more beef to Europe.


    It follows the Mercosur deal, which would give South America much more access to the market also.


    Both agreements have to be approved by the European Parliament - but IFA President Joe Healy is hitting out.


    “We export 90% of the meat we produce in Ireland, 95% of that goes either into the U.K or Europe. So, any deal that means more meat coming into Europe is bad for Ireland,” said Mr Healy.

  • The Government is being called on to do all it can to stop the new EU/South American trade deal going through.

    The Irish Farmers Association says the Mercosur deal is bad for farming communities, the environment and the consumer.

    The agreement will see 99-thousand tonnes of beef enter EU markets.

    It now needs to be approved by the European Parliament, European Council and member states before being rubber stamped.

    IFA President Joe Healy says farmers are outraged and disappointed, particularly with Brexit on the horizon.

  • IFA President Joe Healy insists that there is mounting farmer anger that the Environment Minister Richard Bruton would support a call for teenagers to consume less meat and dairy product and he has again called for the withdrawal of a new on line Green Schools pack produced by An Taisce - promoting climate change advice .The school pack talks about reducing the consumption of meat and dairy in our diets. Farmers claim it promotes veganism.

     However, speaking to Midwest News yesterday Minister Bruton was clear that he is not for turning on the provision of the Green Schools packs for school

    He was adamant that censorship is not the answer, saying  young people would not appreciate not being able to discuss what they eat and its impact on the environment.

    Minister Bruton stated that when he was young there was always one day in the week that meat was off the menu and that was replaced by fish.

    Speaking about the new Green School pack today Joe Healy says its content is not consistent with the dietary advice from the Department of Health. It is clear that many parents already find it challenging to ensure that their children eat a balanced diet.

    He concludes that the pack must be withdrawn or amended. 

  • It's been a busy morning at the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co Offaly.

    Organisers are expecting up to 300,000 people to visit during the three days of the event, which is one of Europe's biggest agricultural events.


    The IFA's Galway-based President Joe Healy is again calling on the Agriculture  Minister Michael Creed to open the low-cost loan scheme announced in last year's Budget, to assist farmers facing fodder shortages and huge feed bills this Winter.

    Speaking with Midwest News this lunchtime from Screggan, Joe Healy said farmers need help to buy fodder and pay bills, and he says it's farcical that - almost 12 months on from the announcement - the low-cost loan scheme is still not in place.



  • There is a call for the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to allocate a dedicated budget to farmers to help them through the fodder crisis.

    IFA President Joe Healy is making the call, as Smart Farming hosts a seminar today on ways to reduce farm bills and enhance the environment.

    He says the Minister needs to make a significant fund available towards an Early Warning System that operates locally to help farmers before any welfare problems emerge.

    Joe Healy says things are pretty bleak for farmers across the country at present.

  • IFA President Joe Healy has said that Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed’s comments that it is every farmer’s individual responsibility to resolve their fodder difficulties indicates a Minister who is in denial of the serious situation that now exists on farms across the country.

    Mr Healy insists that the fodder crisis, which has been evident in the north-west for months, has now spread to many other parts of the country where grass growth has come to a standstill and fodder supplies are depleted. 

    He says, “the response to date of a fodder transport subsidy has not worked. Very few farmers have applied, given the complex bureaucracy attached to the scheme. Fodder supplies had been available in the southern half of the country but these are now gone, and the only option for the Minister at this point is a meal voucher scheme to support farmers to feed their stock”.

  • The Irish Farmers' Association has described the UK's tariff proposals in the event of a no-deal Brexit as a disastrous scenario for farmers.

    The Galway-based IFA President Joe Healy said the proposed tariffs would have a devastating effect on the rural economy.

    It was announced this morning that, under a temporary arrangement, EU goods arriving from the Republic and remaining in Northern Ireland will not be subject to tariffs.

    However, tariffs will be payable on goods moving from the EU into the rest of the UK via Northern Ireland - in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    The IFA President says our most exposed sectors, particularly beef, simply will not survive the kind of tariffs being proposed.

    Ireland exports over 50% of our beef to the UK, and if this is subject to tariffs, it will be a 'direct hit' of almost €800m on the sector" according to Joe Healy.

  • The targets set out in the Government's climate action plan are very demanding for agriculture- that's according to the IFA's Galway-based President Joe Healy.

    The plan, launched yesterday, aims to cut Ireland's carbon emissions on a sustained basis up to 2030, which will be backed by annual increases in carbon tax.

    It contains 183 measures which Environment Minister Richard Bruton says will involve radical change in the way we do things.

    Roscommon-Galway Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has described the ambitious plan as "a savage attack" on rural Ireland.

    He gives an example where a farm's agricultural contracting bill could increase by hundreds of euro per year by increasing taxes on petrol and diesel.

    IFA President Joe Healy says the plan would have a significant impact on rural Ireland, and told Midwest News that the infrastructure would need to be put in place by Government to implement the actions set out in the Teagasc roadmap on reducing emissions....

  • A conference in Dublin heard today that potato growers are getting less than one-fifth of the price a consumer pays for their product in the shop.

    Speaking at the National Potato Conference, the Galway-based IFA President Joe Healy outlined how retailers are taking the lion’s share of the margin on potatoes, while farmers bear all of the risk.

    The conference organised by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) in association with Bord Bia and Teagasc, heard that pre-pack potatoes are retailing at up to €1,400 per tonne while growers receive less than one-fifth of that. 

    The IFA President claims many potato growers are having to sell their crop for less than it costs to produce.

    Joe Healy said stronger retail regulation and an independent retail ombudsman are needed to ensure farmers get a fairer share of the retail price, and to support a sustainable food supply chain.

    The conference heard today that potato sales are now at their highest level in the past ten years  -and potatoes are bought once every second in Irish retailers.

     208,000 tonnes of potatoes were sold in Ireland last year.

  • The Galway-based IFA President Joe Healy will officially open the 64th IFA annual general meeting tomorrow at the Irish Farm Centre at Bluebell in Dublin.

    Mr Healy will give the opening address at 12 noon tomorrow.

    Taoiseach Leo Varadker, Agriculture Minster Michael Creed, the Minister for Communications and Climate Action Richard Bruton and representatives from the EPA and Teagasc are among the speakers taking part in the two-day conference.



  • The IFA will be intensifying its campaign against the Mercosur trade deal this week.  

    The farming organisation is holding a lobby session for all TDs and Senators today to build opposition to the deal.  

    As part of the campaign, IFA is highlighting the environmental damage done by beef production in Brazil with a slogan ‘One Burned Every Minute’, a reference to a recent BBC report which shows that the size of a football pitch in the rain forest is burned down every minute to clear ground for grazing and cattle ranching.

    Tomorrow IFA President Joe Healy will travel to Brussels to meet other farm leaders who are opposed to the deal. 

    Joe has been telling Midwest News today why he believes the Mercosur deal is bad for farmers, for the environment and for consumers and has been explaining why the IFA is raising its opposition campaign to it


  • Today marks the start of Farm Safety Week, which aims to reduce the numbers of accidents on farms 

    The initiative, which was started by the Irish Farmers Association six years ago, also looks to bring about change to allow better safety procedures.

    Farming continues to have one of the poorest safety records of any sector in Ireland. 

    Last year, 24 people lost their lives in farm accidents and 11 people have lost their lives so far in 2018.

    Reacting to these figures, IFA President Joe Healy said: "The statistics are stark but statistics don't tell the whole story.

    "They don't tell you about the devastating impact a farm fatality has on families and communities. They don't tell you the impact a farm accident can have on the rest of your life, on your ability to run the farm.

    This year the campaign is taking a slightly different approach as it shifts its focus from agriculture's poor safety record and stories of things going wrong.

    Instead, this year’s initiative will start talking about when things go right, sharing good practice and demonstrating what 'good' looks like.

    Mr. Healy says the organisation is trying to create an awareness of the dangers on farms.