IFA President Tim Cullinan said that while the application for PGI status for Irish beef was welcome, it must deliver a price premium for farmers.
Tim Cullinan said “It is farmers who have created this brand through our grass-fed animals and it is farmers that must see the return”.
This application was agreed following intensive discussions between IFA, the Minister and the Department of Agriculture. The process which delivered significant changes and a more farmer-centred brand, with a key aspect being a farmer-controlled monitoring group overseeing the brand.
He said a fundamental aspect of the agreement for the PGI application is the development of a farmer controlled suckler brand, with a budget of €6m, that will recognise the additional value in beef from suckler farms. “The Department and Bord Bia must now move immediately to develop the Suckler beef brand, to go alongside the PGI application, as agreed with IFA,” he said.
In addition, changes secured by IFA from the original draft included the removal of references to travel times and flexibilities on the 220 days at grass. The assessments for the meat and fat colour will only be part of the standard Bord Bia audit at factories, and will not impact on the price paid to farmers for their grass-fed product.
A letter requesting the EU Commission to include young bulls, if they meet the grass-fed criteria, and the issue of NI will also accompany the application.
IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said, “This is a good outcome. The PGI will give us a chance to promote the world-renowned qualities of Irish beef while working on a brand for beef from suckler farms that promotes the quality, environmental and socio-economic benefits of this production system,” he said.
“We look forward to developing these brands to get increased returns for beef and suckler farmers,” he said.