Next week, the IFA starts a series of meeting for beef farmers and says the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney must sort out the industry’s issues.

Announcing a series of IFA meetings for livestock farmers this autumn, the IFA President Eddie Downey said livestock farmers cannot go through another year like the last 12 months. “IFA is determined that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must sort out the key issues that are challenging the livestock sector and negatively impacting on farm incomes. The beef sector is in a very difficult position and must be improved.”

The first meeting, in Navan, will be addressed by the President Eddie Downey, the IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns, Joe Burke from An Bord Bia and representatives of the meat processing industry.

Inviting all farmers to attend, Eddie Downey said the theme of the meeting is ‘Tackling the Challenges in Beef’. He said it will provide an opportunity for farmers to get the latest information on cattle supplies, market prospects and prices as well as specifications and live exports.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said the IFA campaign over the last few months has put the beef crisis top of the agenda and Minister Coveney must now deliver on the key issues. “The Minister must get a lot tougher with the meat factories, insist that they honour the agreement they have with farmers on the Quality Payment System and remove the unfair specifications cuts on dual pricing, weights and breeds that were never part of the QPS.”

Henry Burns said it is Minister Coveney’s job to ensure that there is strong competition and transparency in the beef sector and insist that prices fairly reflect market returns.

The first meeting will take place in the Ardboyne Hotel in Navan, Co. Meath on Tuesday, August 19 at 8.30pm. Further meetings have been arranged in September for Tullamore, Kilkenny and Tipperary.