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Virtual Beef Week 2020

The ‘Teagasc Virtual Beef Week 2020’ concludes this evening, Friday 10 July, with a live forum, moderated by Thia Hennessy, Professor of Agri-Food Economics at UCC, focussing on the grand challenges facing the Irish beef sector.

The participants include Barry Cowen, TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine; Tim Cullinan, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) President; Mairead McGuinness, MEP and Vice President of the European Parliament; and Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle.

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Barry Cowen, TD, acknowledged the challenge facing the sector saying: “Low family farm incomes is still the single biggest challenge facing the beef industry and will require a multi-faceted approach to address. Support programmes such as the BDGP and BEEP have been important in incentivising more efficient suckler system of production as well as supporting farmers’ income. I hope to finalise the €50 million COVID support scheme for beef finishers in the next week, or 10 days, with payments being made later in the year”.

Mairead McGuinness, MEP said: “The recently published European Commission Farm to Fork strategy reflects changed societal concerns with respect to the impact of agriculture on the environment, animal health and welfare and human health. Support of farm incomes through direct payments will continue, but policy makers will, reflecting changed citizen priorities, demand more in terms of environmental delivery in return for this income support”.

Tim Cullinan, IFA President said: “Key challenges facing the Irish beef industry currently include CAP reform; Brexit; the EU Mercosur trade deal and low beef prices. The recently published Teagasc National Farm Survey showed the large dependence of beef farmers on direct payments and subsidies to support incomes. It is vital that these supports are maintained into the future”. 

Director of Teagasc Professor Gerry Boyle said: “Irish beef farmers will have to look at what they can control inside their farm gate in terms of improving their technical performance as outlined in the many contributions by my Teagasc colleagues during this week’s Teagasc Virtual Beef Week. Farm management practice changes and new technologies can consistently improve beef margins across all farm scales”. 

The Teagasc Virtual Beef Week, sponsored by FBD Trust, took place this week from Monday 6th to Friday 10th July with the main broadcasts coming from Teagasc Grange. The theme of the event was ‘Building a Sustainable Beef Sector’. Each day there was a Beef Talk webinar at 12 midday hosted by the Irish Farmers Journal and in the evening at 7 pm, Live@Grange was streamed live by AgriLand. There was also a continuous stream of content throughout each day on the Teagasc website and through the Teagasc social media platforms.

The entire content can be viewed at www.teagasc.ie/virtualbeefweek. The organisers of the Teagasc Virtual Beef Week would like to acknowledge FBD Trust as the overall sponsors of the event.