The necessary legislation to give recognition and legal standing to Producer Organisations is set to be created following agreement among industry stakeholders at the most recent meeting (Tuesday) of the Beef Roundtable.

Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney chaired today’s second meeting this year of the Beef Roundtable which received a presentation from the Department on progress on development of Producer Organisations which has been a key proposal to emerge from the Roundtable process.

Minister Coveney confirmed that after detailed and comprehensive stakeholder consultation, he is now moving ahead to provide the necessary legislation to give recognition and legal standing to Producer Organisations in the beef sector for the first time in Ireland.

“I have always said that these POs are key to rebalancing the supply chain and will give farmers improved negotiating positions on issues which affect their farm margins on both the input and output side.

I will now be bringing forward the required provisions in the autumn together with consideration of possible kick-starter funding to help POs get up and running,” he said after the meeting.

Beef Prices

Minister Coveney also said following the meeting that he was pleased to note the steady and improved prices for farmers so far this year and the forecast that this should continue in the coming months.

“This is a much improved position for the sector compared to the first meeting of the Roundtable in April of last year and I am pleased to note that the confidence which we saw returning to market when we last met in February has continued to grow,” he said.

The meeting was the sixth occasion in all that the Roundtable has met and opened with a market presentation from Bord Bia which updated on developments in the first half of 2015 as well as the outlook for the second half of the year.

Teagasc also presented on draft producer guidelines covering all different aspects of beef production and sought the input of Roundtable participants with a view to publishing the guidelines in early Autumn.

This builds on previous discussions at the Roundtable and the view that farmers should have clear written guidelines on the economics of different types of beef production particularly those considering the more specialist bull beef production.

Concluding the Minister said “the confidence which we saw returning to the sector at our last Roundtable in February was evident today in terms of a strengthened market this year so far.

However he said there are still challenges and it’s essential that the industry maintains a strategic focus so as to help to ensure that the long-term viability of the sector is secure and that the sector is sufficiently robust to meet future challenges which will inevitably arise.