Kilkenny man, Ger O’Brien, was elected ICSA suckler committee chair at a meeting of the association’s national executive in Portlaoise on Thursday, February 13th.
Hailing from Mallardstown near Callan, Mr O’Brien runs a suckler enterprise with 60 cows and works part-time as a linear scoring and AI technician.
Speaking following his election Mr O’Brien said, “Our priority in the suckler committee is to ensure the schemes in CAP Pillar 2 deliver more support for suckler farmers and are matched with stronger national co-funding.”
“In particular, we need to see a new BDGP scheme based on breeding quality beef using terminal and maternal sires, export-grade weanlings and valuable cows both as calf producers and cull cows.”
“We also want to see the BEEP scheme continued with a with higher payment per head and will the demanding that live exports are fully supported by any incoming Government. These are all required to ensure the survival of the suckler sector.”
Mr O’Brien also spoke of suckler farmers being custodians of the environment, “By combining good farming practices with maintaining hedgerows and less heavily stocked farms, suckler farmers are especially well-positioned to protect water quality.”
“However, we need to see all this work rewarded through a payment for carbon sequestration.”
ICSA also wants to see a national policy devised for the international promotion of suckler beef as a niche product with the objective of increasing returns to producers. “This would include a marketing strategy for suckler beef and PGI status specifically for sucklers,” he said.