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IFA calls for Government to release €24 million in unspent aid to bolster beef farmers

23 April 2020

The shuttered food service and restaurant sectors across Europe have hobbled Irish beef exports.

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) is urging the Irish government to make €24 million in unspent farm aid immediately available to beef farmers. The aid would be a crucial lifeline for the sector, which has seen prices plummet and export markets close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Irish Times reports that Brendan Golden, national livestock chairman for the IFA, said that the Department of Agriculture could release Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) funds to support the beef sector.

“That BEAM funding was set up to deal with the losses due to Brexit - €50 million came from the EU and €50 million from the government but only €76 million was drawn down so there’s €24 million available to support farmers.”

Beef prices have dropped to ten-year lows with a base price of €3.40/kg for prime heifers and steers. Irish beef farmers are operating at a loss on their animals.

Beef prices have been dropping by about 10 cents/kg per week for the last three weeks. Irish processing capacity hovers at approximately 30,000 animals a week – meaning that beef farmers have lost out on over €3 million in the last month.

Both Golden and Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland agree that the coronavirus pandemic has caused the losses as export markets have closed to curb the spread of disease.

Read more about this story on the Irish Times website.


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