IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said the Advantage Beef Programme launched by ABP is an attempt to promote younger age of slaughter for cattle sourced from suckler and dairy herds while also promoting lower levels of antibiotic usage.
He said the programme is clearly seeking to react to the increased societal demands on climate action and antibiotic usage in food production.
Brendan Golden said farmers are acutely aware of these increased demands from society and policy makers, and have openly stated we will play our part.
However, these changes to production systems and management practices do not come without additional costs and the need for time to implement them at farm level, key points which IFA highlighted directly to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture at our AGM last week.
“This type of change at farm level will require direct financial supports from Government for cattle rearing and finishing farms which IFA has consistently called for in the Strategic Plans of the new CAP,” he said.
In relation to the ABP scheme which proposes to pay bonuses on the ‘AQP’ (Average Quoted Price of the seven ABP/Slaney plants) for the week of slaughter, it’s extremely difficult to see how this provides any ‘guarantee of price’ which the company claims.
The IFA Livestock Chairman said security must be provided to beef finishers by all factories of longer-term price contracts/agreements that protect farmers from taking all of the financial risks in finishing cattle.
Brendan Golden also called out the need for the stronger legislation committed to by the Minister for Agriculture for the office of the Food Regulator to be put in place as a matter of urgency in order to provide full transparency for the value at each point in the supply chain.
He said until we have this critical information farmers will continue to be at the mercy of the factories and the prices they decide to quote on a weekly basis.