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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Beef industry development with carbon emissions reduction

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which he remains satisfied regarding the future of the beef industry here with particular reference to the need to reduce carbon emissions while at the same time ensuring the development of the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Our beef and suckler farm families produce a world-class product that is in demand in markets across the globe.  To date in 2022, beef prices remain very strong with R3 Steer prices at 467 c/kg as of 21st November, and an increase in slaughter of 7.7% in the year to date compared to 2021.

According to CSO data beef exports for 2022 up until the end of September were valued at €2.2 billion, an increase of 26% in value terms.  Exports for the same period were up by 12% in volume.

I am, however, acutely aware of the potential pressures being faced by many sectors across the agriculture industry due to the increase in input costs. 

My Department continues to monitor the market situation including production costs in the sector and continues to engage at EU level,  to ensure a joined-up EU approach to the challenges arising from Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

I have taken a proactive approach in responding to the impact of illegal war in Ukraine on the agri-food sector, through the various measures I have announced since this crisis started, to support our farm families and their businesses and I will continue to do so.

Practices at all stages of the production process will need to continue to adapt to respond to evolving market and environmental requirements.  CSP interventions as well as the work of the Food Vision Beef and Sheep group will support this adaptation at primary producer level.

I established the Food Vision Dairy, and Beef and Sheep Groups this year to advance the actions for the dairy, beef and sheep sector identified in the Food Vision 2030 strategy, taking account of the requirement for the sectors to contribute to achieving the targets set for agriculture emissions in the Climate Act process. 

The first priority for both Groups was to chart a pathway to achieving the legally binding target of a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 2030, equivalent to a reduction of 5.75 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Both the Beef & Sheep and Dairy Groups have recently submitted their final reports, which have been published on my Department’s website.

 I want to thank the Food Vision Beef and Sheep Group, and its Chair Professor Thia Hennessy, for the intense effort that went into this report, which details direct and enabling measures needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the beef sector. Putting the beef sector on an even more sustainable footing is a key priority of mine and I believe we can build a more resilient sector for this and future generations of farmers.

 I understand that the measures listed have not been agreed by all members of the Group, which is understandable given that there are significant economic costs, particularly at farm level, attached to implementing some of these measures.  However, it is key that first we have a pathway to reducing emissions and know what measures can contribute to that.  I have thanked the members of the Food Vision Beef and Sheep Group for the time and effort they have invested in this process. I will study this report carefully before deciding on next steps.

My ultimate aim is to futureproof our beef sector for the benefit of our industry, the environment and our farm families who are the backbone of the sector and rural communities.

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