‘Breeders are unhappy with ICBF board structure’ – Deering

There is a “general unhappiness” among Ireland’s pedigree beef breed societies with the structure of the board of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF), according to the chair of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pat Deering.

Last month, representatives from the ICBF appeared before the committee to discuss the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).

A delegation from the Irish Charolais Cattle Society (ICCS) – along with the manager of Cashel Mart, Alison De Vere Hunt – also outlined their concerns around the BDGP scheme in front of the committee on the same evening.

The fact that Ireland’s pedigree beef breed societies only have one representative on the board of the ICBF at present was one of the major issues highlighted at the meeting.

Following the meeting, the committee is understood to have reached out to approximately 20 beef breed societies to get their respective views on the BDGP scheme as well as any other issues that arose during the discussions last month.

Speaking to AgriLand, deputy Deering explained that just under 10 submissions from breed societies have been received by the committee to date – with that number expected to increase slightly in the next few weeks.

Having read through a number of the submissions, the Fine Gael TD indicated that there is a “general unhappiness” among the societies with the structure of the ICBF board – but he added that the submissions did not highlight any issue with the personnel who currently hold positions on the board.

The consensus is that beef breed societies feel “left out” when it comes to the current make-up of the board, he added.

Deputy Deering outlined that the Agriculture Committee would be taking the submissions into consideration in the coming weeks, before deciding on what to do next.

Current structure

Speaking at last month’s meeting of the Agriculture Committee, the chairman of the ICBF, Michael Doran, addressed queries in relation to the board of the federation.

He explained that the board is made up of:
  • Three representatives from the AI sector – representing both beef and dairy AI;
  • Three representatives from the milk recording agencies;
  • Six farm organisation representatives – four from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and two from the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA);
  • Three herdbook representatives – Two from the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) and one pedigree cattle breeders’ representative;
  • One person from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Continuing, Doran said: “I come from the background of being an IFA representative on the board. But each of those sectors elects their own representatives to the board.

“Last year we actually initiated a fully-independent corporate governance review of the board. We brought in a corporate governance specialist from the Institute of Public Administration, which was actually very good for the organisation.

“We do take corporate governance very seriously,” he said.