Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) executive have met with counterparts from other farming unions to discuss issues affecting drystock farmers.

IFA Livestock Committee chair, Brendan Golden, Sheep chair Kevin Comiskey, and senior policy executive on livestock, Tomás Bourke, met recently with their counterparts from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), NFU Scotland, NFU Wales and the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

The meeting in London was an opportunity to discuss a range of issues impacting on drystock farmers in Ireland and across the UK.

Market situation for drystock farmers

The main focus of the discussion centred on the current market situation and the “savage” increase in farm inputs, which the IFA has said is, without doubt, the biggest and most immediate threat to the sector.

Brendan Golden said: “These soaring input costs risk eroding producer confidence and our productive capacity, which is hard to replace.

“We need strong intervention from the government to support farmers through this.”

Climate challenges

On climate action, Golden said a balance has to be struck, and that food security stays front and centre in the minds of the government and consumers.

He continued:

“We need to ensure that we are measuring and accounting in a consistent way that reflects the role that grazing livestock play in maintaining biodiversity and sequestering carbon.”

Kevin Comiskey raised the issue of wool markets with the association’s UK counterparts and said he will be following up with further discussions with a view to identifying ways to increase the value of wool for farmers.

Concluding, the IFA livestock and sheep chairs said the discussions with the farming unions were productive.

“Farmers are facing similar challenges to ourselves and it is important we continue to work together in the interests of all farmers,” the delegation said.