Concern over seeming lack of farmer reps on Grass-Fed Standard committee

The composition of the Technical Advisory Committee to oversee the Grass-Fed Standard that was developed by Bord Bia has raised concerns in some circles over the apparent lack of farmer representation.

The committee appears to be comprised of representatives from the meat processing industry; Bord Bia; Teagasc; and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; but seemingly includes no representatives from farm organisations.

Furthermore, the committee does not seem to include any researcher or expert on beef.

The Grass-Fed Standard is separate from the protected geographic indication (PGI) status application for ‘Irish Grass-Fed Beef’, although the two share some features in terms of how animals qualify for both.

Nigel Renaghan, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Ulster / north Leinster regional chairman, said the situation is “not good enough”.

Speaking to AgriLand, Renaghan criticised the lack of consultation with farmer organisations on the committee, claiming that Bord Bia has “gone on a solo run”.

“As far as we know, there is no farmer representation. It is not good enough. Who feeds into this? That’s the issue… Who did they consult with?” Renaghan commented.

Bord Bia funding in Budget 2021

In other Bord Bia related news, the food board has been allocated a total of €52.25 million in Budget 2021, a €4 million increase on its current allocation for this year.

According to Minister of State with responsibility for new market development, farm safety and research and development Martin Heydon, the challenge of Brexit is a key factor in the allocation of additional funding.

The new funding will partly go towards digital and online approaches to market development, given the lack of physical trade missions due to Covid-19.

“We must continue to invest in establishing a premium position for our food and beverages in all markets, across the world as well as in the UK and Europe,” Minister Heydon said last week.