Over 4,000 farmers have signed up to withdraw from the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA).
Having reported on yesterday’s talks with Meat Industry Ireland to the ICSA National Executive, President Patrick Kent said that the mood was militant.
He said while it appears that some progress is likely at tomorrow’s Roundtable meeting on the 30-month restriction and on age and weight limits for bulls, the ICSA National Executive was adamant that there would have to be real and tangible changes in weight and age specifications.
“The National Executive has insisted that ICSA’s campaign threatening withdrawal from the Quality Assurance Scheme must be kept in place until we see results that put extra money in farmers’ pockets and deliver a more viable future for the sector,” he said.
Accordingly, Kent said the organisation have over 4000 farmers who have backed our campaign to date, and we intend to continue this until we are satisfied with progress on the following issues:
- A Quality Assurance bonus paid on all animals from Quality Assured herds – currently only one in four animals gets a bonus
- Relaxation of the 30-month limit
- Fair play for marts, with an end to artificial restrictions on residency and movements
- Realistic age and weight specs for high quality continental bulls
- An end to the arbitrary changing of specs and pricing systems without consultation with farmer representatives.
Kent said until there is real, measurable progress on these issues, there is nothing to stop factories from continuing to manipulate price to the detriment of farmers as they have done over the past 12 months.