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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Opinion: Sheep farmers need €8.30/kg to survive

In this opinion piece, ICSA sheep chair, Sean McNamara, outlines why he believes that Irish sheep farmers need €8.30/kg to “survive and secure a future for sheep farming”.

Farmers need to be paid €8.30/kg for lambs in order for them to keep producing.

Sheep farmers have been producing at well below the cost of production for too long, and it has caused havoc in the sector.

That is why ICSA is looking for a rescue package for sheep farmers – but the fact remains that processors, too, must play their part and pay farmers a price that takes our hugely inflated input costs into consideration and actually covers the cost of production.

Bord Bia has confirmed that Brexit did disadvantage the Irish sheep sector and that Irish sheep farmers will face increased competition in Europe from the UK and the Southern Hemisphere for the remainder of 2023 – much like it has done since the Brexit vote.

This is the reason that ICSA is campaigning for a €50m emergency aid package for sheep farmers – to be funded through the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR).

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Sheep farmers are the ones that have been most impacted by Brexit, and they urgently need the Government to access this fund on their behalf.

That is what this fund is there for, and it must be used.

The current crisis in the sheep sector will prevent any young farmers from choosing to go into the sector unless real action is taken.

Sheep farmers are not getting a fair price for their product, nor are they receiving enough government support, and if young farmers cannot see a future in sheep farming, then there is no future for the sector.

It makes very little sense to produce a world-class product if you cannot make a viable living from doing so.

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