With factory protests having ceased, cattle throughput is slowly returning to normal. But the end of the protests does not signify an end to the income crisis. At a base price of €3.50/kg, farmers are incurring heavy losses. There is no scope to relax. The commitments secured by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to deliver increased transparency in the sector must be delivered within agreed timelines. Adam Woods goes into detail here.
At the same time, attention must now turn to Budget 2020 and Brexit. To put it into context, the 30-month rule that received so much attention in recent months was calculated to be costing farmers just over €10m per annum. A no-deal Brexit, where World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs are imposed on Irish exports into the UK, would see our agri-food sector hit with a trade tax of €1.2bn per annum. The beef sector is by far the most exposed, facing trade taxes of €1bn per annum. Not only exposed to any collapse in beef price, the Irish dairy sector could see trade taxes on dairy products reach €100m per annum.