Macra national president James Healy has said it is “critical that the foundations and structures of the future of the beef sector are robust enough to ensure generational renewal is a viable proposition in beef farming”.
He was speaking after the 10th beef roundtable in Dublin, adding that “beef farming needs to be a profitable prospect as a career option for the sector to have a future”.
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed chaired the meeting, and emphasised the contribution made across the beef sector which has allowed it to react to the challenges it has faced, most notably since the result of the Brexit referendum last year.
“It is encouraging to see how the sector has responded positively in the first six months of 2017 to the challenges it has faced. In particular I note the strong performance of live exports which are 43% ahead of last year and the growing third country trade which has seen markets in Asia especially, showing strong increases in the value of exports in the first quarter,” he said.
Mr Healy also welcomed the inclusion of new entrant young suckler beef farmers in the 2000 applicants to the second tranche of the Beef Genomic scheme.
In addition to updating the roundtable on the work of the Government and the Department in response to Brexit, Mr Creed also provided updates on his most recent trade missions.
He referred to the recent granting of approval by the USDA to the Bord Bia Process Verified Programme and its importance to overall strategy for the marketing of Irish beef in the USA: “I was delighted to see the approval by Bord Bia of the Process Verified Programme for labelling Irish beef as grass fed and reared outdoors. I believe that this is a major milestone in our attempts to firmly establish Irish beef in the US market and one which will hopefully provide further momentum to the sale of Irish beef in the US.”
The Minister, in acknowledging of the importance of the CAP to the beef sector, stressed his support for the retention of a strong and well funded CAP budget but also noted the challenge the overall CAP budget is facing in the future.