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Smith welcomes improved outlook for Farm Income

Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food officially opened the Tullamore and AIB National Livestock show on Sunday 8th August in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

 The Minister welcomed the improved outlook for farming in 2010 and said "I am pleased that, after a very difficult few years, things are looking a great deal brighter for our agriculture this year.  Just recently Teagasc have estimated that the value of farm output will increase by over €300m compared to last year.  Obviously this is good news for farmers and their families but it is also very positive for the whole rural economy".

Minister Smith recognised that a big part of the increase in incomes this year will come from the very welcome recovery in milk prices, along with projected increase in milk output.  He went on to say that "Overall, Teagasc say that dairy farmers' gross margins should increase by 70% this year.  This is very good news after the disastrous prices in 2009 which triggered EU market support following pressure from myself and some other agriculture Ministers".

Minister Smith also welcomed the Teagasc estimate that input costs will be generally lower this year due to lower feed and fertiliser prices, and this will also contribute to the bottom line for farmers.  This will be of assistance to beef farmers where prices are somewhat weaker this year.

The Minister was particularly pleased to see that the combination of lower costs and higher prices is benefiting Irish sheep farmers. Teagasc estimate that their margins should increase by 28% this year.  "This is great news for a sector that has come through a difficult period but where there are now clear signs of renewed confidence.  This increase in margin is in addition to the boost that the incomes of sheep farmers will receive from the €18m grassland sheep scheme which I have provided this year".

The Minister also referred to the "Food Harvest 2020 Plan" recently launched by the Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD and himself, which establishes a road map for the development of the agri food sector in the period to 2020.  He said "the report, prepared by leading industry people charts a strategy for lifting output from the dairy, beef and sheep sectors significantly. Better animal breeding through the uptake of new scientific methods such as Genomics will help achieve this target.  The involvement of all stakeholders in helping achieve these targets will be critical".

Minister Smith said that the Tullamore Show was now Ireland's premier livestock and agriculture show and has gone from strength to strength over the years. The Minister acknowledged the importance for everyone involved in agriculture and in particular the livestock sector, of the production of quality livestock by exhibiting our top animals on a national stage.

In conclusion, the Minister took the opportunity of complimenting the organising committee, the exhibitors and sponsors on a very successful Show.


Date Released: 08 August 2010