The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney today launched a public consultation seeking the views of stakeholders on legislating for the establishment of producer organisations in the beef sector.

This builds on a key recommendation in the Dowling report presented at the June beef roundtable meeting which said that consideration should be given to introducing provisions for setting up a producer group regime.

Producer organisations are groups of farmers who come together under a formal structure to collaborate on a range of different issues. Their origins lie in the EU Regulation on Common Organisation of the Markets for Agricultural Products (Reg. 1308/2013) which Member States may choose to implement on a national basis. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is currently drawing up a Statutory Instrument (SI) to provide a legal basis for producer organisations in the dairy sector and the option now exists to add the beef sector also if the demand is there.

“Following on from the Dowling report recommendation to explore the possibility of legislating for Producer Organisations, I am today launching a public consultation programme to invite interested parties to have their say on what Producer Organisations might look like for the Irish beef sector. I am aware of their prevalence in other EU Member States, but one size does not fit all and I want to ensure Irish Producer Organisations, if they are to be set up, are designed to suit the needs of Irish farmers.”

This consultation phase now is about gauging interest from the stakeholders on their views on a number of issues. This will inform the development of the SI and help to ensure that it provides a legal basis which is fit for purpose and takes account of the variety of views and ideas across the sector.

“I encourage all stakeholders in the sector who have views on Producer Organisations to come forward and share them through submission to my Department before the closing date of September 19. This initiative is one of many which have come out of the beef roundtable discussions to date and I look forward to engaging in that format again in the autumn. In the meantime I would repeat my call for all interested stakeholders to use the time between the meetings productively and engage directly with each other on the issues.”