2-strand deal sets course for ‘stronger partnerships’ in beef sector – Creed

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has today, Sunday, September 15, announced that an agreement has been reached between meat industry representatives and the country’s farm organisations on a two-strand deal for the reform of the Irish beef sector.

The agreement – which is supported by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA); the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), the Irish Cattle Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), Macra na Feirme, the Irish Natura Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA), the Beef Plan Movement and Independent Farmers – involves a number of interventions which it says “will provide immediate benefit” for beef producers – as well as a range of strategic measures that seek to address “structural imbalances” in the sector.

Confirming details of the agreement, the minister said beef producers “will benefit from an immediate increase in a range of bonuses”, including the following:
  • An increase of 66% in the current in-spec bonus for steers and heifers from 12c/kg to 20c/kg;
  • The introduction of a new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30 to 36 months, which meet all non-age related existing in-spec criteria, and which up to now have not received any bonus;
  • As well as the introduction of a number of new bonuses and reforms.

A Beef Market Taskforce will also be established to provide leadership to develop a sustainable pathway for the future of the beef sector in terms of economic, environmental and social sustainability.

The taskforce will be independently chaired by an appointee of the minister, and will include the department, relevant State agencies and nominees from farm organisations and the meat industry.

The taskforce is expected to provide a robust implementation structure for commitments entered into in this agreement, with timelines and stakeholder engagement.

Furthermore the Beef Market Taskforce will offer a suitable platform for strategic engagement with key stakeholders including retailers, regulatory authorities etc.

Greater Clarity

Commenting on the structural reforms agreed the minister said: “A number of actions in the area of market transparency, beef promotion and strengthening the position of the farmer in the supply chain were agreed upon.

For example, the minister highlighted the points below:
  • An immediate scientific review of the Quality Payment Grid by Teagasc;
  • An independent review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector.

“The agreed measures set a course towards greater clarity for all stakeholders involved in the beef supply chain, primarily farmers,” he said.

The minister concluded by adding: “I wish to thank all participants in this process for their contribution towards agreeing a way forward for the Irish beef sector.

“I hope that this agreement will prove to be a first step in fostering stronger partnerships in this critical sector for the Irish economy and for rural Ireland,” he said.