The agreement reached today, Sunday, September 15 at the beef talks for a reform of the sector has been welcomed by Meat Industry Ireland (MII), which said the “agreed package contains significant positive financial initiatives by MII members”.

MII, the body the represents meat processors, highlighted that the agreement requires that “all protests and illegal blockades cease immediately”.

This, MII said, would allow “normal processing to recommence, employees to return to work, farmers to sell their animals, and efforts to be made to rebuild customer confidence”.

This has been an extremely damaging episode for all stakeholders in the beef and sheep sectors.

“It has occurred at a time of significant and continuing challenges in the EU beef market. It is of particular concern given the closeness of Brexit and the major implications that a no-deal outcome presents for our sector,” MII said in a statement.

The statement continued: “Throughout the disruption over the last seven weeks, MII members have maintained close contact with their farmer suppliers with cattle to sell, and with customers to reassure them of our continued commitment to being best-in-class at servicing customers requirements globally.”

MII also thanked Minister Michael Creed and the secretary general of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in facilitating the agreement.

‘Immediate benefits’

The agreement focuses on what it calls “immediate benefits” for farmers, which involve a number of ‘interventions’ for beef producers. Among these interventions are included, but not limited to:

  • The immediate introduction of a new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30-36 months, which meet all non-age related existing in-spec criteria, and which up to now have not received any bonus;
  • An immediate increase of two thirds in the current in-spec for steers and heifers from 12c/kg to 20c/kg;
  • The introduction of a new in-spec bonus of 12c/kg for steers and heifers under-30 months in the categories of grade O- and fat score 4+ which currently does not qualify for any bonus.

Additionally, strand two of the agreement, entitled “Strategic Structural Reforms” sets out strategic measures which seek to address “structural imbalances” in the beef sector.