The UK farmers’ unions and the Irish Farmers’ Association united today in calling for immediate measures to address the beef market collapse in parts of Europe and for the EU to provide the necessary funds, not only for beef but also for the whole of the CAP.

After their meeting in Belfast, the presidents of the unions responded to EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler’s proposals to rebalance the EU’s beef market.

The five presidents have called for immediate implementation of a compulsory purchase for destruction scheme in every affected Member State, as the cheapest, quickest and best method to rebalance the market.

They also called for the introduction of an EU funded calf processing scheme to remove calves in countries with severe beef over supply problems. This would help the future balance of the beef market.

They also stressed the absolute importance of maintaining beef production from the suckler herd as a means of delivering extensively produced, safe, quality beef that is actively sought by consumers.

The farmers’ unions strongly opposed any suggestion of adjusting Suckler Cow Premium entitlements or stocking rates eligible for Extensification Premium payment.

They said that this crisis has been caused by political mismanagement and none of the current CAP budget should be redirected at the emergency measures now required.

Notes to editors:

In attendance at the talks were: Douglas Rowe, President Ulster Farmers’ Union; Ben Gill, President National Farmers’ Union England; Jim Walker, President NFU Scotland; Hugh Richards, President NFU Wales; Tom Parlon, President Irish Farmers’ Association.