Over 350 livestock farmers attended a regional information meeting to discuss the six key principles that the IFA Livestock Committee and National Council set out for the distribution of the fund, with very strong support for some of the fund to go to suckler farmers.
IFA president Joe Healy said: “During a robust debate, it was clear that finishers of prime cattle and sucklers should be the priority. We understand that the EU Commission will circulate a draft regulation to Member States on Thursday. This will outline parameters around the distribution of the funds.”
He said the clear message from the meeting was that the €100m Brexit beef package has to be targeted to the farmers who need it most. It must take account of the farmers who incurred the beef price losses and the income situation.
IFA national livestock chairman Angus Woods said the farmers who sold prime finished cattle since last September and suckler producers are the two groups which were hit the hardest.
In March, the EU Commission agreed a Brexit beef package of €50m for Irish beef farmers while the Irish Government ageed to provide matching funding of €50m to create a €100m package to cover Brexit beef cuts. The funding came about following IFA calculations, that Irish farmers experienced losses of €101m between 1 September 2018 and 23 March 2019. IFA calculated the losses based on comparing pre-Brexit cattle prices in 2015 to the very low prices farmers received in the autumn of 2018 and the winter/spring of 2019.
The six principles:
• For beef farmers and must be paid to beef farmers. Not for factories, factory feedlots or factory-owned cattle, agents or dealers.
• Targeted to the farmers who incurred the losses and the sectors who need it most in terms of income.
• Farmers who sold prime finished cattle - steers, heifers, young bulls since last Autumn, and suckler farmers.
• Paid out quickly and directly to farmers.
• Finished cattle sold in the marts must be included.
• DAFM has all the data on the AIMs system to enable accurate targeting of the funds.