The Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA) has called for written contracts to be mandatory when farmers agree to sell livestock to a processor.

The group has said that such a document should always be produced when a deal is done with a factory by a farmer for their cattle or sheep.

IBLA has also outlined a demand for the mandatory live weighing of all animals in factory lairages prior to slaughtering.

It added that all live weights should be included in the factory return or kill sheet issued to farmers after slaughter.

IBLA demands

The third demand from the IBLA focused on the role of the factory agent.

The group believes that legislation is needed around the part played by agents in the procurement of cattle for a processor.

IBLA claims that this will mean that a farmer is “fully informed of their position regarding the agent’s capacity to speak on a meat processors’ behalf”.

The legislation, the group said, would also apply to an agent’s capacity to offer a written contract, their fees and insurance cover costs to enter a farmer’s property.

The various topics were raised during a recent meeting between IBLA and the Unfair Trading Practices Enforcement Authority.

The body, which has the power to initiate and conduct investigations on its own initiative or on the basis of a complaint, was established last month by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.

Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) regulations have been applicable since July 2021 to all new supply agreements established since April 28, 2021.

The authority is an interim measure until the National Food Ombudsman office is fully established.

It is understood that the office outlined to IBLA that it does not have the power to implement the issues raised.

Meanwhile, the IBLA has welcomed an upcoming promotion campaign for the office, which it said “hopefully will make all in the food supply chain aware of its responsibilities”.