Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on Minister McConalogue to find a solution to address concerns raised around changes to the Beef Index.
Changes made by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) to the indices came into force on November 28th and have caused significant frustration and worry within the farming community.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“I have been contacted by many farmers and breeders, who are seriously concerned about the changes to the Beef Index and the impact this could have on the sector.
“Some breeders have, overnight, taken a financial hit of thousands of euro and in some cases in excess of €100,000. This is financial ruin for these farm families.
“The ICBF came before the Agriculture Committee this morning and while they acknowledged the impact of index changes on some farmers and breeders, and stated that they do not want to see them negatively impacted, they are not willing to pause this and engage, as they should have in the first place.
“Instead they propose to establish a Stakeholders Forum next year, which makes no sense.
“I put it to the ICBF this morning that they should pause the changes to the index, revert to the previous index, and engage with all stakeholders now. For the sake of a number of months, I think this is a reasonable request.
“There are question marks over the new inclusion of carbon in the index, and while reducing green house gases is something we can all agree on, this is not the way to bring farmers with us when it comes to climate action.
“In their fair criticism of the proposed changes, farmers have been clear that they will follow the data and the science when it comes to farming practices. However, that data and science must also be underpinned by engagement with suckler farmers and breeders. This has not happened.
“I have been actively engaging with farmers, cattle breeders and representative organisations on this matter and know well the frustration and worry that this situation has caused.
“Two weeks ago, I called for an overhaul of the SCEP scheme in light of these changes. The Minister needs to engage on this also. I will be raising these matters under Priority Questions with the Minister tomorrow morning.
“It is critical that he works with the ICBF to come up with a solution that works for suckler farmers and breeders, and this is something that I will be pushing for.”