Angus and Hereford groups flag ‘huge concern’ on continued plant closures

The Irish Angus Producer Group has said that its farmer members are expressing huge concern about the continued closure of processing facilities around the country.

The 14,851-farmer-strong organisation warned that its members have been significantly impacted by serious disruptions at the five Kepak and six ABP facilities in which Certified Irish Angus Beef is processed.

The group highlighted in particular ABP in Bandon which has been in lock-down for seven weeks.

Charles Smith, general manager of Irish Angus Producer Group, commented on the situation at the 2019 National Ploughing Championships in Fenagh, Co. Carlow.

“Over the last three days we have been inundated with farmer members expressing huge disappointment and concern at not being able to bring their animals to be slaughtered,” he said.

We have worked really hard for the last 25 years at developing and marketing the Certified Irish Angus Beef brand to consumers, both in Irish and European markets, and our farmer members are increasingly worried about their inability to conduct their business in a normal fashion.

“These processing plants play a key role in the supply chain and our members are deeply concerned that for the first time in 25 years we may not be able to maintain this supply to loyal consumers and retailers.

“We would urge our farmer colleagues to allow normal production and supply to resume and respect the difficult situation they are putting other farmers and farm organisations in by denying them the ability to process animals.

“The agreement reached last week offers substantial improvements for all beef farmers which should be embraced,” Smith said.

Certified Irish Hereford Prime

Meanwhile, the board of the Certified Irish Hereford Prime beef producer group welcomed the agreement reached by the farm organisations at the talks last weekend in Dublin.

The group feels that “there are many positives for our farmers in the detail of the agreement and the time is right now to move forward”.

Farmer run and owned beef producer group Certified Irish Hereford Prime warned that its 4,500 cattle producers and finishers are “deeply concerned that the continuation of blockades is causing major hardship for our members who have quality cattle to sell and cannot get them to market”.

We understand that the orderly marketing of our members cattle and the resulting cash-flow is vitally important, especially in current market conditions. We are simply looking to allow some of our members the opportunity to sell their cattle that are reaching maturity before they lose out on the bonuses that they deserve.

“In both the international and domestic markets for our Certified Irish Hereford Prime beef, we are becoming very worried that our hard-won reputation for reliability and consistency of supply will be lost.

“Certified Irish Hereford Prime has spent over 22 years building on the quality product delivered by our farmers and our partners. We believe it is now time to get back to serving these customers immediately before irreparable damage is done,” the Hereford statement concluded.