History repeating itself as suckler sector faces destocking

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association are holding an emergency National Council meeting to discuss the threat posed to our suckler industry following proposals from the EU Commission on the Brexit support package for the beef sector. National President Colm O’Donnell stated “that there is a clear agenda to decimate our suckler sector with the likely possibility of a destocking of suckler cows similar to the destocking of our hills in the 1990’s.

The INHFA leader outlined “how the destocking of our hills was a proposal pushed by the EU in an attempt to address an issue at that time and it would appear that the EU Commission have a similar plan in mind for our suckler cows.” There is added O’Donnell “a need for our Minister to now come out and clarify what was in our Governments proposal to the Commission in relation to this Brexit support package. By doing this we can determine how much of the Commission’s agenda is a solo run and how much is also being driven by our own Government and the Department.”

When we look continued O’Donnell “at the previous destocking either on our hills or the removal of cattle from the Burren we see how these simplistic quick fix solutions don’t often work. In the Burren cattle had to be brought back to address the encroachment of scrub and on our hills the loss of sheep and cattle from these managed landscapes necessitated a total re-think and a new approach to address issues resulting from the destocking.”

Any destocking of our sucklers should insisted the INHFA leader “require a clear explanation as to why suckler cows are being targeted as opposed to other sectors and most notably our dairy cows where there has being a significant increase in recent years. This increase has put major pressure on the beef price and is a significant factor in our increased carbon emissions. This is why it is absolutely unacceptable to scapegoat our suckler farmers to appease the greed in another sector.”

He concluded by stating “how our National Council meeting will hear back from Henry O’Donnell following his meeting with EU Commission officials on their proposals and plan a strategy to defend our suckler farmers where ever they are.