IFA is still in the process of meeting the main levy collectors and as of yet has no date as to when it will expect to write out to them to establish a formal written contract of service provision, IFA President Joe Healy has said.

Speaking to the media today following his speech at the IFA AGM in Dublin, he said that he couldn’t give a date for when IFA can expect to write out to them.

Following a recommendation from the Implementation Committee, set up after the Con Lucey review, IFA announced it would be sticking with its current funding model of levy collection – through levy collection outlets, such as marts and factories.

“We did the review, it was presented at council, it was presented at county executives and it was debated at all our 947 branch AGMs around the country throughout November and December.

At the moment I’m in the process, with other people within the organisation, of meeting the main collectors that are collecting probably half of the total levy.

That process is proving very successful, according to Healy.

“We’ve left it open for those collectors to give their advice and suggestions or opinions on certain aspects of it. We’ve got a very positive response from the outlets that we’ve met.”

Those outlets include marts, meat factories and dairy co-ops the IFA President said.

“There’s still a bit of work to be done on that, we want to get in touch with all of the collectors.”

On ABP, Healy said that there hasn’t been any communication with them recently.

I would like to see a situation when we’ve met with other collectors that the door would be open there to sit down with ABP and discuss the levy with them.

Last year, ABP announced that it would stop collecting levies for farm organisations, including IFA, on the back of farmer requests.

ABP, which processes 22% of the Irish beef kill, decided not to make levy deductions unless requested by the farmer to do so and then proceeded to write to its farmer suppliers offering them the option to ‘opt in’ to the levy collection on behalf of farm organisations.

Farmers who wished to continue paying the levy had return the form to ABP saying that they wanted to continue paying it. However, they would be automatically opting out of paying the levy if they did not return the form.

A poll by Agriland following the news that ABP was to halt the levy collection found that 75% of farmers would not opt in to pay a farm organisation levy.