Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has called on the government to back farmers who are struggling to earn a viable living as the beef sector is currently in crisis. Deputy Murphy was speaking during a Fianna Fáil motion which sets out 14 policy actions to improve conditions for those in the farming sector.

Deputy Murphy commented, “The suckler cow herd of almost 1 million is pivotal in supporting the local economy in rural Ireland, with every €1 of support provided to suckler farmers generating more than €4 of economic activity in rural parishes. We need this badly because our villages and towns have fallen to rack and ruin.

“Farming families underpin annual beef exports worth €2.4 billion, but these farms generate average incomes below €13,000 and fully depend on CAP to maintain their livelihoods. Cattle-rearing farms earn an average income of €12,680 when suckler cow production is the dominant farm enterprise. I do not need to tell the Minister about the cost of beef production, and he knows well that beef farmers feel the squeeze.

“The average beef price is hovering at €3.75 per kilogram or lower and the average cost of production is €4 per kilogram. This is not sustainable, as the Government has heard over and over again. It had to be pulled kicking and screaming to bring in the allowance for the suckler cow and it brought it in at a rate of €40, but that is no good.

“I am passionate about the issue because I was reared on a small farm. We will stand with the farming communities in attendance and fight for them in order that they might obtain a better deal. They cannot and will not survive on what is currently available.

“The Minister for Agriculture must ensure that the policy actions are taken on board and progressed to the benefit of those in farming communities in Roscommon-Galway and across our island,” concluded Deputy Murphy.