The Beef Plan Movement’s new producer organisation (PO) – named ‘Irish Beef Producers‘ – has officially been recognised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The group received official confirmation of the move in a letter sent from the department’s beef policy division to Beef Plan’s western regional chairman Eoin Donnelly this afternoon, Wednesday, September 11.

The letter states: “I am pleased to confirm that your producer organisation, Irish Beef Producers incorporated through Glasson Beef Producers, has been recognised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in accordance with the European Union (Beef Producer Organisations) Regulations 2016 S.I. No. 49 of 2016 and added to the department’s register, which can be viewed at the following address.

In accordance with the conditions of recognition, you will be required to complete an annual report from giving details of your PO’s activities.

“As discussed, you will also submit quarterly update reports in conjunction with informal monthly updates subject to review after the first year. Your report template will issue to you in November for submission in December,” the letter states.

‘Open for business’

Speaking to AgriLand, Donnelly welcomed the decision saying the first-of-its-kind beef producer organisation is effectively “open for business”.

“We are now open for business to negotiate prices for any farmer in the country legally.

“It means we have a legal statute of protection that allows us to collectively negotiate the price of beef for farmers – without a concern that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) can claim that we are price fixing – that is the significance of it.

The critical thing for us here is that the option of setting up a PO has been in place since 2016 and no other farm organisation, or group of individuals, have taken it upon themselves to apply for this level of protection from a price-fixing allegation by the CCPC.

“I have to strongly challenge why this wasn’t done by other farm organisations in the best interests of beef farmers in this country,” said Donnelly.

It is understood that there is unlimited spaces available for producers that want to join the new producer organisation and membership is free.

Membership forms will be circulated to interested producers, which in turn will have to be posted back to the producer organisation Irish Beef Producers; Donnelly said further details will be circulated by the group shortly.

Stay tuned to AgriLand for more on this developing story…