At the conclusion of the beef talks this morning, IFA President Joe Healy said despite movement on a number of issues, beef farmers will be disappointed that there is no increase on the main issue of beef prices. He said the fact that the talks took place on the precondition that price would not be discussed was ignoring the elephant in the room.
Joe Healy said with Brexit just 71 days away, strong EU and Government support is urgently required for beef farmers who are in the middle of a severe income crisis. He said “IFA made it very clear to Minister Creed additional EU and Government Brexit supports and direct aid for farmers are urgently required.”
On imports, Joe Healy said IFA highlighted the damage to the EU beef market and prices from sub-standard beef imports from outside the EU. He said it was agreed “it should be ensured that imports which do not meet the same stringent standards as EU producers are banned”.
There was agreement on the need for a fully funded CAP and to protect its share of the EU Budget, and ensure that the current level of direct payments to Irish beef farmers is protected.
IFA secured a strong position for additional funding for targeted direct support for suckler cows.
It was agreed Bord Bia will develop a beef market price index model. It was also agreed that an independent grocery regulator is required.
On the QPS (Quality Payment System) it was agreed Teagasc will review the price differentials on the grid in the short term and undertake a full review in the longer term.
In relation to the criteria for the 12c/kg in-spec bonus, the factories propose that aligned with the grid review by Teagasc (to be completed by end September) the industry commits to reduce the 70 days residency period on the last farm to 60 days and to broaden the in spec bonus criteria to cover O- conformation and 4 + fat class for steers and heifers.
DAFM agreed to introduce an appeal system for carcase classification in meat plants where there is manual grading only. IFA is seeking an appeals system in all meat plants. Farmers will also have access to carcase images on request.
On insurance charges at the factories, MII (Meat Industry Ireland) confirmed that farmers can opt out of paying.
It was also agreed on the need for greater transparency all along the beef supply chain. An independent study of price composition along the supply chain will be commissioned by DAFM.
MII members agreed to provide a lairage weighing service on request which may incur a nominal charge to farmers.
It was agreed that live exports are a critical part of the industry and that there should be a continued strategic focus on this area.