Strong Messages from IFA Lamb Producer Group Meeting

IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey said there were a number of very strong messages emerging from the IFA meeting of lamb producer group representatives held in Athlone earlier this week.

John Lynskey said the key issues producer groups were pushing were full transparent price reporting on lamb from the Department of Agriculture; maximising the benefits for group members; worthwhile price incentive for quality assurance; and, improved price benefits for the higher quality and higher specification lambs groups consistently deliver to factories.

The meeting also heard detailed presentations from Kevin Kinsella, IFA Director of Livestock on sheep policy and the IFA submission to the Agri-Strategy 2025 on sheep; Declan Fennell from Bord Bia on market prospects for 2015; and, Eamon Wall of Sheep Ireland on breeding. Sean Fair, the producer group representative on Sheep Ireland stressed the importance of improving maternal traits and supporting a strong breeding programme.

John Lynskey said producer groups are very strong in their demand to the Department of Agriculture to introduce a clear and transparent price reporting system on lamb similar to what is there on beef. “Group members said it is totally unacceptable the way factories use lower quoted prices to undermine paid prices to groups every week.”

There was a strong call on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to introduce a transparent and accurate system of lamb price reporting for each named meat plant, which would be published weekly. He said IFA has already taken this issue up with the Department of Agriculture and made it a priority in the IFA’s ‘Agri-strategy 2025’ submission.

The IFA sheep farmers leader said most producer groups reported that they are getting a significant and separate premium or price incentive for quality assurance and they build this into their negotiations with processors.

John Lynskey said producer group members are determined to maximise the real value and benefits they deliver to processors in worthwhile price premiums. He said “Factories have no other similar supplies of high quality, high specification lambs and the price premiums must be higher.” He added factories leverage significant benefits from producer groups as they are always used in leading the marketing drives with retailers and high end customers.

In discussions, some groups outlined the benefits of loyalty and a long standing relationship with their processors and others outlined the benefits of moving their business in cases where they felt they were not being properly rewarded by the processors.

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