INHFA ‘hardens position’ on suckler brand in department and Bord Bia meetings

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) said today (Monday, October 12) that it has “hardened its position” on the issue of a suckler brand.

According to the farm organisation, it is “disputing” with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Bord Bia, over what it calls the “non-delivery to date” on a commitment to develop a suckler brand.

Colm O’Donnell, the president of the INHFA, said: “During talks with the department and Bord Bia over the last number of days, the INHFA has made its position crystal clear.

In order to preserve the integrity of the [Irish Beef Sector Agreement] and to settle our dispute, we must now see a concrete proposal on the table with the full backing of all [Beef Market Taskforce] members, including meat processors.

O’Donnell explained that the INHFA has registered an opposition to the protected geographic indication (PGI) status application for ‘Irish Grass-Fed Beef’ on foot of the apparent lack of delivery on a suckler brand.

“In our opposition paper to the PGI, we have clearly stated that in order to resolve our dispute with the taskforce and to preserve the integrity of the agreement, that both meat processors and Bord Bia must come on board with suckler farmers and ensure delivery on the suckler brand,” the INHFA president argued.

INHFA has informed the taskforce chairman that unless there is a clear commitment given on the development of a suckler brand that includes at least one processor coming on board, we will not support the current grass-based PGI application.

“To do so, in the absence of a suckler brand being developed, would be a sell-out of all 65,000 suckler farmers, something the INHFA is not prepared to do,” O’Donnell concluded.

Cancelled taskforce meeting

The PGI status application for Irish Grass-Fed Beef has come in for no shortage of controversy since it was published.

A meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce was due to take place today (Monday, October 12) exclusively for the purpose of discussing the protected geographic indication (PGI) application for ‘Irish Grass-Fed Beef’, AgriLand understands.

However, it is understood that this meeting, which was provisionally scheduled to take place at around 2:00pm, has been called off.

The reason for the cancellation is unclear at this point. Representatives of some farm organisations took part in bilateral meetings with department officials and Bord Bia representatives on the issue of the Bord Bia developed PGI application.