A compromise proposal has been made to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed to help resolve the beef crisis by the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA).

The proposal made by the farming organisation centres on the payment of the 12c Bord Bia Quality Assurance bonus for in-spec animals.

The INHFA noted that currently in order for farmers to receive the bonus they have to comply with four key conditions.

These include:
  • Membership of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme;
  • Animals slaughtered must have been on the farm for the previous 60 days, which was reduced from 70 days last week;
  • Animals must not have exceeded four farm movements; and
  • Animals must be under 30 months.

INHFA national president Colm O’Donnell said that the requirement to comply with all four conditions is “onerous on farmers but it does also provide for an obvious solution that we would hope MII [Meat Industry Ireland] would accept”.

36-month spec for organic

O’Donnell added that the proposed solution “involves making a bonus payment of 3c/kg on each condition complied with so a 31-month-old animal would still receive a 9c bonus if the other three conditions are met”.

“This proposal can deliver a fair compromise and we are now asking Minister Creed to immediately reconvene talks with a view to getting this agreed.”

He concluded by pointing to a precedent that already exists in the organic sector where organic beef animals remain in spec up to 36 months.

This, he stated, “totally undermines MII’s argument in relation to the 30-month rule”.