€6 million has been committed to a programme of suckler beef promotion and the development of a proposition for a suckler beef brand.

The development arose out of a mammoth eight-hour meeting of the Beef Market Taskforce yesterday (Thursday, October 22).

It is understood that an outline of a proposal to undertake this promotion was shared with members of the taskforce by Bord Bia.

Bord Bia had previously committed €3 million for this purpose at another taskforce meeting, but this figure has been doubled. Certain farm organisations had made the development of a suckler brand a condition of their agreement to the protected geographic indication (PGI) status application for ‘Irish Grass-Fed Beef’.

The €6 million funding will be spread out over three years, it is understood.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said that the programme for suckler beef will be subject to an annual review of progress.

This annual review, which will be overseen by a monitoring group with majority farmer representation, will assess progress in relation to the creation of market demand by differentiating Irish suckler beef and the ability of the brand to deliver improved returns, he said.

This work will begin immediately, the minister noted.

“Budget 2021 provided significant funding for the livestock sector, particularly in the form of targeted supports for suckler beef farmers. These schemes will support suckler farmers to improve the environmental and economic performance of their beef animals, while recording actions which will assist in demonstrating their environmental and welfare credentials,” Minister McConalogue said.

He added: “I hope that these schemes can be built on and developed in preparations for the next round of CAP [Common Agricultural Policy]. These supports will align well with the development of a brand proposition for Irish suckler beef.”