Beef taskforce meeting set for end of March to be rescheduled

A meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce that was set to take place at the end of this month (March) will be rescheduled in light of coronavirus (Covid-19).

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed to AgriLand that a meeting of the taskforce had been planned for an as yet unannounced date later this month.

However, the spokesperson said: “Given the current advice in relation to Covid-19, the beef taskforce meeting which was planned to take place at the end of this month will be rescheduled for a later date.”

The last meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce took place on January 9, which saw farm organisations, processor representatives and retailers in attendance.

During that meeting, rules and requirements under the Quality Payments Scheme (QPS) came in for treatment.

The general feeling among farm organisation representatives that attended Agriculture House that evening was that retailers did not view these requirements as absolutely set in stone.

Speaking to AgriLand after the meeting, Pat McCormack, the president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), said: “It was very useful to have the retailers there, and to see what their market requirements are.

Certainly, one would question the need to be so rigorous on the under-30 months, with a lot of them stating that under 36 months was sufficient for them.

Edmond Phelan, the president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), explained that only one of the retailers that attended the meeting was “adamant” that they wanted 30-month-or-less beef.

“The in-spec criteria was not as cut and dried as we had been led to believe,” Phelan remarked.