‘Beef Forum must tackle factories on cattle movement penalties’

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and the beef forum have been called on to deal with the problem of the recording of farm to farm cattle movements, by Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson, Martin Kenny TD.

Speaking after meeting with farmers in his constituency, Deputy Kenny said the penalisation of farmers by the meat factories for the number of movements an animal has recorded against it has to be tackled.

“Quality Payment Scheme bonuses are being withheld on this basis.

“There is a case to be made for not counting movement of cattle between quality assured farms,” he said.

Kenny said he has have received many representations from farmers on the issue.

“They feel it is unfair, and I agree with them, that penalties are imposed by the meat processors for movements which are not significant in any way.

“A recent study carried out by ICOS found that many British supermarkets are not making the strident demands which are being imposed by Irish factories.

“ICOS correctly pointed out that the Quality Payments Scheme is in fact a quality penalty scheme as it is being implemented by the factories. Bord Bía does not place any of these movement restrictions on cattle,” he said.

According to Kenny the Minister, as chair of the Beef Forum, will have to tackle this issue when he has everyone around the table.

“The factories take every opportunity to penalise farmers. At the moment they are exaggerating the Sterling devaluation after the vote by Britain to leave the EU.

“The Beef Forum is supposed to look after the interests of farmers as well as the rest of the sector and the Minister has a responsibility to defend the primary producer,” he said.