IRELAND - The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) president Patrick Kent has said a Teagasc report on the viability of Irish farms in 2015 shows just how serious the economic situation is, especially for cattle and sheep farmers.
"While Brussels has moved heaven and earth to deal with the dairy crisis, the Teagasc figures again emphasise that the cattle and sheep sectors are in real trouble. This emphasises that ICSA is absolutely correct to insist that the latest Brussels bail-out package cannot be exclusively for dairy farmers,” Mr Kent said.
"While 2015 was a tough year for dairy farmers with only 76 per cent viable, this pales in comparison with only 20 per cent viable suckler farms, 28 per cent beef and 26 per cent sheep.
"It must be remembered that the threshold for viability is calculated at a rock bottom level of minimum agricultural wage plus 5 per cent return on investment. It is outrageous that the height of our ambitions for farmers is the minimum wage when you realise that most farmers are highly experienced and highly skilled."
Mr Kent called the statistics "disgraceful" and said retailers should address pricing structures as part of corporate social responsibility objectives. He also hit out at input suppliers, such as the fertiliser and chemical industries, whose prices he said are "increasingly out of line with what farmers can afford."
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