At a meeting between senior management in Bord Bia and the IFA Executive Council in Dublin this week, IFA President Joe Healy said very good and solid progress was made in addressing the key areas of concern to farmers on quality assurance, including farm audits, standards and compliance issues as well as a more farmer friendly approach.
Joe Healy said IFA is very supportive of a strong Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme that is farmer friendly and delivers market and price benefits back to farmers.
Aidan Cotter from Bord Bia told the IFA meeting Bord Bia is fully committed to taking farmers’ issues on board and addressing them in the New Sustainable Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme, currently being discussed.
Joe Healy said Bord Bia has given a clear commitment to IFA that they will address the following key issues under the New Sustainable Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme:
- introducing a new close out period, which will allow farmers to correct all compliance issues within a time frame, enabling them to remain and continue to trade in the scheme;
- ensuring that the target timeframe for farm audits will be 90 minutes;
- simplifying and consolidating the number of issues in the standard and the number of questions at audit;
- introducing a pre-audit questionnaire that will be sent to farmers a week before the audit so as to simplify the process and reduce audit time;
- removal of all reference to market requirements and specifications in the standard; and,
- removal of all reference to EID for sheep.
Joe Healy said “We need to move forward. IFA is very committed to increasing the number of farmers participating in the scheme. Bord Bia has agreed to take on board farmer concerns, address and resolve the key issues farmers have raised with Quality Assurance under the new scheme.”