IFA President Tim Cullinan said that Bord Bia must revisit its grass-fed standard, especially the exclusion of all young bulls from eligibility.
“It is wrong that two animals who may spend the same number of days at grass and consume the same grass-fed diet are treated differently. The same criteria should apply to every animal,” he said.
“Not all young bull systems will fit into the standard, but if they do, or if a farmer wants to adjust their systems to fit into the criteria, they should be allowed to do so,” he said.
“There are several aspects of this application which need further clarification. Farmers pay €6m a year to Bord Bia. We are the ones who are creating this brand for the industry through our grass-fed animals, but we have not been properly consulted”.
“Bord Bia’s application referred to Teagasc’s involvement in developing the criteria. I am astonished that Teagasc has apparently supported the total exclusion of all young bulls – even if they meet the standard,” said the IFA President.
“I think Teagasc need to clarify their role in this process,” he said.
On PGI, Tim Cullinan said, “We need to separate the discussion on the details around a grass-fed standard from the possibility of applying for Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) status for Irish beef. There are fundamental questions we need to ask about what exact brand we should seek to protect and who owns that brand”.
“I think we should look at farmers owning any PGI brand before we hand it over to the processors or retailers to exploit without any guarantee of a price premium for farmers. While we understand the challenge in getting approval for any EU application for PGI status there is no point in getting approval if it doesn’t deliver a real benefit for farmers,” he said.