Live exporters ‘must be represented’ at upcoming Beef Forum

Pat McCormack expects to see live exporters represented at the upcoming Beef Forum – as was agreed at the previous meeting of the forum, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA).

Speaking in advance of tomorrow’s Beef Forum, McCormack – the president of the ICMSA – signalled a range of issues that he intends to raise at the meeting.

McCormack confirmed that he would be asking for situation updates on the ongoing Mercusor negotiations, Brexit and related market access issues as well as the availability of shipping facilities for the current peak calving period.

Also tipped to be raised by the president will be the “growing momentum” behind the ICMSA’s longstanding campaign for a fundamental review of the beef price grid.

McCormack repeated his assertion that the beef offer under Mercosur “defied any logic” and he added that the reports that the ongoing negotiations are now considering increased market access to the EU for South America must profoundly alarm Irish beef producers.

He called for a message stating categorical opposition from Ireland to this suggestion be sent to the EU from the Beef Forum.

The ICMSA president said that Brexit remains a huge and related concern for the sector, while access to markets such as China must be finalised – with beef actually being sold to these markets – as soon as possible.

Live exports

On live exports, he noted that farmers are now in the peak calving period in Ireland; over the next few weeks, the numbers of calves for sale will increase substantially.

This necessitates adequate live shipping facilities to get these calves to the buyers waiting for them, he said.

McCormack noted that at the last Beef Forum, the ICMSA had proposed – and it was agreed – that live exporters would be at future forum meetings and the ICMSA president said he trusted that live exporters would be represented – so that their concerns can be aired and dealt with.

Finally, the president confirmed that he will be raising the “growing support” for the fundamental review of the beef price grid – which, the ICMSA believes, a commitment was secured for over two years ago