Prof. John Fitzgerald’s proposals to reduce suckler cow numbers were “short-sighted” and “failed to take account of the economic and social contribution made by sucklers”.
That is the view of IFA president, Tim Cullinan, who believes Fitzgerald should be using his platform to convince our Government that agriculture has a role to play, rather than “relegating our largest indigenous industry”.
Cullinan outlined that the AgClimatise policy focuses on offsetting emissions from agriculture through better breeding, feed additives and the development of renewable energy.
Reduce suckler cow numbers: ‘A simplistic and populist narrative’
IFA livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, said John Fitzgerald, in his “appraisal” of beef farming and environmental impacts, “applies the same double standards” as the EU Commission does with trade deals.
“The income difficulties in the beef sector existed before Brexit, and are largely caused by the continual undermining of key UK and EU markets by substandard beef allowed onto the market, produced in countries that allow the decimation of rain forests,” he said.
He stressed that if Fitzgerald is serious about climate change, then he should be calling out the lack of cohesion at EU level in environmental policy and trade deals, rather than choosing a “simplistic and populist narrative”.
“Beef farmers are the foundation stone of an important export-oriented sector that has a significant reach across the country and in particular in rural communities, adding huge socio-economic and environmental value to the country while producing beef to the highest standards.”
“As an economist, John Fitzgerald might ask why farmers operate below the cost of production when other players in the chain enjoy margins that are not disclosed,” he said.
“Beef farmers will play their part, but we will not be sacrificed because of an approach to climate action that chases easy options, and popular headlines while ignoring the real facts,” the IFA national livestock chairman concluded.