- Changes will negatively impact suckler farmers
- Consultation needs to happen
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation to urgently suspend their recently announced reclassification of the Euro-Star beef breeding index to give beef farmers a fighting chance.
Speaking to ICBF representatives at the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee today, Deputy Crowe requested the suspension of the measure until they hold their stakeholder consultation forum in early spring period.
“It is abundantly obvious to me that the many stakeholders involved in this process feel that they have not been properly consulted so far and that the communication from the ICBF has left a lot to be desired,” said Deputy Crowe.
“Some of the breeding associations cite examples of indexes plummeting and it very much looks like the large-bodied animals have been the fall guy in this re-evaluation, with lighter animals climbing, in some instances, up the index scale.
“All of these changes mean only one thing for beef suckler farmers – a drop in prices.
“This will have a devastating impact on so many farming families who depend hugely on the income derived from cattle sales.
“In recent years, suckler farming has very much become the poor relation of dairy farming and we need to do everything we can to protect this vital sector of our economy.
“I am being inundated with calls from beef farmers throughout the county and indeed elsewhere in the country – and being a suckler farmer myself, with a herd of Hereford and Shorthorn cattle, I can absolutely empathise with their situation.
“I also find it illogical that members of the ICBF board signed off on these new evaluations given that they themselves represent farming organisations and the breeding sector.
“A row back has to happen, and I think the obvious thing to do now is to suspend all changes until proper stakeholder consultation begins – as promised – in the spring period.”