Galway cattle farmers and weanling producers of Limousin, Belgian Blue and Charolais cattle stand to gain from the opening of the US market to Irish beef.
This is the view of Galway East Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton following the announcement this week that Ireland will, within the coming months, become the first European country to have access to the US market. It is anticipated that by the year end, 1,500 to 2,000 two tonnes of beef could enter the American market.
Dep Connaughton said the new US contract will “bring great relief to farmers who feed top quality continental livestock”. He also understands that age restrictions for cattle imposed on farmers may “not be as great an issue” for US authorities. Cattle aged more than 30 months are not due to have penalties placed on them, subject to theirr being top quality meat.
It is also understood that the new American contract will use quite large quantities of meat for processing for convenience foods. Dep Connaughton said this should “provide a floor price for lesser quality cattle”. He also said that at the moment there is “no sign of an increase in cattle numbers in the US” and that this could result in “continued need for Irish beef into the future”.
“I hope that the US contract will take sufficient volumes of meat to create more competition for the available cattle,” said Dep Connaughton. “This is the only way farmers can be sure they will get a return for their labour.”