Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue met with his US counterpart Tom Vilsack at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) headquarters in Washington DC, for an in-depth discussion.
Minister McConalogue said he was delighted to meet Secretary Vilsack in person for the first time, having spoken with him virtually before.
Among the issues discussed were the recent agreement on a veterinary health certificate, which will allow exports of sheepmeat from Ireland to the United States, and the difficulties encountered for Irish beef exports to the United States.
Full Minister’s Statement –
Agriculture, Food and Navy Secretary Charlie McConalogue, TD, met with his counterpart, United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, today (Wednesday) at the headquarters of the United States Department of Agriculture. ‘Agriculture (USDA) in Washington DC, for a broad and varied discussion.
Following the meeting, Minister McConalogue said, “I was delighted to meet Secretary Vilsack in person for the first time, having spoken with him virtually before. I thanked him for the positive working relationship between our two ministries and our two countries. This is particularly evident in the recently announced agreement on a veterinary health certificate, which will allow exports of sheepmeat from Ireland to the United States. This is a development that really excites me.
“I also discussed with Secretary Vilsack the difficulties faced by Irish beef exports to the United States, which fall under the ‘Other Country’ beef quota, as the 2022 quota is already fully filled. Exports of Irish beef to the United States (valued at 36 million Euros for 7,000 tonnes) is an important opportunity for market diversification and is highly valued by discerning American commercial customers I expressed hope to Secretary Vilsack that it will be possible to find a technical solution that would allow exports of quality Irish beef to the United States to continue without facing very high tariff barriers.
“During the meeting, I set out our Food Vision 2030 ambition for Ireland to become a global leader in sustainable food systems over the coming decade and the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and economic.
“I congratulated Secretary Vilsack for co-founding the AIM4Climate initiative; of which Ireland is a member; which sets the ambition to double global investment in climate research for agriculture from €4 billion to €8 billion by the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in November of this year. I hope that Ireland’s strength in agricultural research will help find solutions to our common challenge to further reduce the total emissions associated with food production.
Minister McConalogue then met with White House Agriculture Adviser Kelliann Blazek, as well as Ireland’s Special Envoy on Food Systems, Tom Arnold. Policy engagements in Washington DC will continue later today, with Minister McConalogue meeting with key members of the US Senate and House Agriculture Committees.
Minister McConalogue said: “I would like to thank the Irish Embassy, including Ambassador Mulhall and the Irish Agriculture Attaché, Dr Finbar Brown, for their commitment to facilitating these high-level political engagements; which again reflect the positive relationship that Ireland has with the US administration. The strong engagement of my department’s officials with their USDA counterparts is also very important in enhancing mutual understanding and collaboration.
Tonight (Wednesday), the Irish Embassy, together with Bord Bia, will host a celebration of Irish food and drink; particularly in anticipation of the future of Irish sheepmeat in the US market, now that agreement has been reached on a veterinary health certificate.
Speaking ahead of today’s reception at the Irish Embassy in Washington to mark the launch of Bord Bia’s next three-year co-funded European campaign, Tara McCarthy said a key part of promoting Irish lamb in the United States will position it as a premium product with high health and nutritional benefits while underscoring Ireland’s commitment to food safety.
“Our research shows us that lamb consumption is increasing in the United States and that consumers, especially younger consumers, are willing to eat more lamb and are willing to pay more for ‘quality’ lamb. ethically raised and sourced from a natural environment,” she says. “With this in mind, Bord Bia will focus on raising the profile of Irish sheepmeat by promoting it as a premium product sourced from family farms and fully traceable from farm to fork. It is essential to create a brand that symbolizes Ireland’s heritage, quality and confidence or its ‘green credentials’.
In June, Bord Bia launches the intensive three-year EU co-funded campaign, Working with Nature – European Beef and Lamb, which sees Bord Bia investing €1 million in marketing and promotion seminars, events and promotional activities from 2022 to 2025. During the three-year campaign, Bord Bia will target more than 350 key traders and decision makers and more than 6,000 buyers will be accessible to our meat exporters at international fairs. Bord Bia will also welcome 15 foreign trade representatives to visit Irish farms and processors.
Minister McConalogue will conclude the Washington DC portion of the trade mission tomorrow (Thursday), opening a seminar co-hosted with the World Bank on the theme: “Sustainable Food Systems: Feeding the World, Meeting Climate Goals and Responding to New Contexts”. born of the Ukrainian crisis”