The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have called on the Minister for Agriculture to take swift and decisive action to save the sheep sector from “further decline”.
INHFA’s National Vice President Micheal McDonnell stressed the need for Minister McConalogue to implement a meaningful ewe top-up package to provide the necessary financial lifeline to our farmers. He stated it is “imperative that we safeguard the livelihoods of those dedicated farmers who contribute significantly to Ireland’s agricultural output and the sustainability of our rural communities”.
With the week-on-week fall in price, the sector is, he added, “in a dire position, a scenario that we anticipated last spring when we earnestly called upon the Minister for Agriculture to implement a meaningful payment-per-ewe for the sheep sector”.
He added that the situation will also be compounded by the delayed payment of Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme, which will impact cashflow and have a knock-on effect on the sale of store lambs and breeding ewe sales, particularly for hill sheep.
Mr McDonnell said the pressure weighing down on the store lamb price has “been further exacerbated by the fact that many traditional tillage farmers, who were crucial in the lamb store market, are no longer engaged in the practice”.
He concluded: “This change in practice is having a profound and alarming effect on the sheep sector and we are calling on the minister to review and apply amendments to have this situation reversed”.